Thursday, January 26, 2006

Meet Joe Stupec.

Joe Stupec's letter to Hiram Wurf was sent to me within about an hour of my request for information and clarification of the issues. Mr. Stupec also followed it up with an addendum, which updated this letter (sent to Wurf on Jan. 20), and answered a couple of my questions, however indirectly.
    Dear Hiram:

    I've read your insightful comments regarding Mr Zamora's campaign and I must say I agree with them. I've chosen you to be the first to get this update because I believe you to be very fair and honest.

    I thought you'd like an update on today's hearing but first some background on me if you don't mind.

    I have never (I'm ashamed to say) been involved in politics before but the state of the nation has deteriorated to a point where I can no longer sit on the sidelines with a clear conscience. When I was looking around for a candidate to back, my logical choice was Rubin Zamora. I voted for him last time, he's from my town and I had heard him speak on Air America's Mike Malloy show. My decision was made until I heard John Laesch also on Malloy's program. To reconfirm my decision I wrote a few e-mails to John because my main concern is with church/state relationships. Since John touted his Christian background I thought I'd test him on that issue and he came through with flying colors as far as I was concerned. He invited me to a get-together and my wife and I attended. We felt very comfortable with his team and so we decided we'd cast our lot with John. I had nothing against Rubin, and still don't, it just worked out that way. Essentially a flip of a coin. So I guess that made me a "Laesch supporter" although I considered myself merely a Democratic supporter. This occurred around Thanksgiving time of last year..

    Ok, I'm getting to the "challenge". I would go to Laesh's office from time to time and from the beginning the emphasis was on getting signatures for John's petition to get on the ballot. There was never enough and they were collected until the deadline. In addition to collecting signatures, much time was spent verifying signatures to be sure they were of registered voters, proper signatures and addresses and anything else to be sure the lists were valid. To be honest I don't know the exact number of signatures collected. After they were submitted I never asked. I would guess 3000.

    As any efficient organization should do, I believe, when it was learned that Rubin only submitted 1,332 signatures it wasn't rocket science to think it a good idea to verify his names to be sure he was over the 863 minimum to actually be on the ballot. Not expecting to get the results we did, to my surprise we found more than enough names to show that Rubin was sloppy enough to not verify his signatures to guarantee his viability or he just decided to submit what he had in the hope that nobody would notice. So there you are, I did notice and so I was faced with the question- What is the right thing to do? This was in no way a "fishing expedition". The audit was done professionally with full confidence that the challenge would be vindicated as we had enough to show he was below the minimum. There's no way I would have challenged Rubin if he had been above the minimum. What would be the point? I decided the best thing to do was to file the objection and let the Board of elections decide. When I decided to get into politics I had no idea I'd be faced with such a conundrum but I'm determined that everything must be on the up-and-up no matter who's campaign or who's party I find problems. I haven't seen or heard all of the vitriol that has been generated but the fact is that the challenge has been vindicated in that as of today's hearing Rubin was shown to only have 837 valid signatures with 20 more still under review. That means that 495 or 37% of his signatures were not valid. Again, that is as of 3 pm today.

    I'm writing this before the final decision takes place this Saturday at 2pm because Mr Zamora has been given another bite of the apple and he has until then to try to resurrect enough of the now rejected signatures to get himself above the minimum number of 863. That's 26 people he has to find to get notarized statements from that they are, in fact, the proper person at the proper residence. I have no doubt that will happen. Rubin has 2 high powered attorneys and they won't allow anything else to happen. I wish him luck.

    Here's a scary thought which helped me decide to go forward. What if there had been no challenge, Rubin advances beyond the primary and then the Hastert campaign found out Rubin wasn't a valid candidate?

    Here's the headline:


    So there you have it.....the rest of the story. No fishing expedition, no secret plot to remove a perfectly good Democratic candidate from a ballot, no trying to give John Laesch a free ride to the general election and certainly nothing personal on my part against Rubin. In fact as of 3pm Saturday the pall of illegitimacy should be removed and we'll have no fear of it being used against him. I feel I've done him a service although he may find it hard to see. I've already told him that if he's successful in the primary that I'd be calling him to ask how I could help. You see I have my sights on Dennis Hastert, not Rubin Zamora and I hope he realizes that. It sounds hoaky but whoever gets past the primary is going to need, every last friend and Democrat to defeat the Republican. I'll watch the primary with interest knowing I cannot lose it no matter who "wins" it.

    Thanks for your time. I hope you can pass this along to help cool this environment and get our eyes on the prize again.

    Joe Stupec
Admirable, at the same time, incredibly naive. You can draw your own conclusions. Everyone who is interested in what happened is entitled to an explanation, whether you see a connection to Laesch or not.

On a personal note, you should be aware that Mr. Stupec is in his sixties. While he has opened this can of worms himself, please respect his privacy and leave him alone.

The glowing truth of the matter is that no one's numbers are questioned unless the petitions are found by the SBE to be inadequate, or if someone challenges them. And again, there's the timing of things that begs the question, "was this orchestrated somehow?"

Whether he was talked into it or not, Mr. Stupec's naive approach to the perceived "problem" with Ruben's candidacy did no one any favors.

Mr. Laesch, however, indicated before the challenge was decided by the mediator, and since, characterized Zamora's as both "illegal," "unethical" and "fraudulent," and told me in an email recently that the petitions were under lock and key by Mr. Stupec and Patricia Feeley.

There's that name again. Feeley.

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