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The mayoral candidates who were kicked off the ballot have only themselves to blame

So, this pickup truck is rolling through a Tucson neighborhood when it hits a big pothole, and all but one of the would-be mayoral candidates go flying out. (We'll assume that it's in Republican Councilman Steve Kozachik's neighborhood, because he says that the Dems on the council won't let him use funds to fix potholes there.)

Anyway, Shaun McClusky and Ron Asta are flung off one way; Pat Darcy goes in another; and Marshall Home flies off in the direction of his mothership. Only Jonathan Rothschild is left in the bed of the truck, because, as a lawyer, he had enough sense to strap himself in, in the event of just such an occurrence. Who knows how much damage he could have done to somebody's lawn with his pointy head and pretentious name?

The Green Party candidates also survived the mishap. They had refused to get in the truck in the first place, either because its rate of fossil-fuel consumption was an affront to all human beings, or it consumed fossil fuel, period.

Scattered along the roadway, the two Republicans, one sorta Democrat and the independent guy are all scratching their heads, wondering what happened. Well, what happened is that they all failed to handle their bidness. One of the first things that any candidate must do is to gather enough signatures from qualified voters to get one's name on the ballot. It's kind of a pain in the butt, but it's necessary to separate the serious candidates from the knuckleheads, and it probably serves to keep the ballot itself from being a few dozen pages long.

Just as collecting the signatures and handing them in to be verified is part of the process, so, too, is the inevitable challenge from one or more of one's potential opponents. There are so many things that could go wrong with the collection of the signatures that allowing somebody else to skate by, unchallenged, is neither gentlemanly nor lady-like. It's stupid.

When Ron Asta got knocked out, he was quoted as saying, "Politics used to be fun. Now it's hardball."

No, Ron, it's always been hardball. Just ask that Julius Caesar guy.

While outright fraud takes place from time to time, it seems likely that a significant number of disqualified signatures were simple, honest mistakes. Maybe the signer doesn't live in the city, or maybe he had already signed another petition, believing (incorrectly) that it was OK to sign multiple nominating petitions. Maybe he hadn't voted in a while, and/or his voter status had changed.

It's simply prudent to challenge the petitions of others, and it's even more prudent for those who are circulating the petitions to see to it that they come in early and well over the number of signatures needed, knowing that some will inevitably be disqualified.

My radio co-host, Emil Franzi, has been engaging in political rat fornication since the Eisenhower days. He was livid when he saw that Shaun McClusky turned in (at the last minute) petitions with only 123 more signatures than the 1,060 minimum required. Franzi says that, in such situations, he always aims for a 40 to 50 percent cushion, just to be safe. McClusky's "cushion" was less than 12 percent, and it didn't hold up.

Franzi has the tendency to spit when he gets upset. When he saw McClusky's numbers, he became like that really fat guy in the restaurant scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. It was like a freakin' fire hose.

Somewhat disappointingly, McClusky, Asta, Darcy and Pima County Republican head Brian Miller all attacked the challenges to the petitions, rather than taking the blame for the deficiencies thereof. I'm going to make a sports analogy here, because it's perfectly apropos; Pat Darcy used to be a jock, so at least he'll get it; and after all these years, I still enjoy annoying those Tucson Weekly readers who think that sports are part of a fascist plot to keep kids from wearing Birkenstocks.

Here goes: As a player and coach, I've been involved in thousands of games, and I've lost my fair share. But never once did I lose a game and then complain that I hadn't known the rules going in. Neither should these guys.

In a time of virulent anti-Democratic Party sentiment, and in a town with a relatively healthy Tea Party movement, it seems ridiculous that a Republican isn't going to be on the ballot in the race for mayor. (And please accept my apology for having used the words "healthy" and "Tea Party" in the same sentence.)

All that really remains is for Jonathan Rothschild to start planning his inaugural ball. (I hope it's at Club Congress; I like that place.) There is also the matter of determining which of the two Green Party candidates—Dave Croteau or Mary DeCamp—will represent their party in the general election.

I absolutely can't wait for the Green Party debate. It's probably going to get nasty.

Croteau: I made the shoes I'm wearing out of all local products. And just to prove that they are completely bio-degradable, when this debate is over, I am going to eat them and then use the resulting waste product as compost to heat the water in my humble adobe abode.

Decamp: What?! You use heated water?! Planet-hater!

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