The Jackson County Democratic Party has now seen two top officials resign over the party’s role in a four-way race for the nomination in Senate District 3. There is little evidence that any campaign gained an unfair advantage, and the dispute over motives serves as a distraction to voters days before ballots are mailed out for the May 15 primary.
The dispute surfaced a week ago Monday, when candidate Kevin Stine publicly called on opponent Jeff Golden to drop out of the race because party officials had given his campaign access to a list of party volunteers called neighborhood leaders, part of a state Democratic Party get-out-the-vote effort. The leaders contact 35 neighbors and urge them to vote, but without advocating for any particular candidate.
The party’s campaign chairwoman, Julie McFadden, says Golden’s campaign chairwoman, Cathy Shaw, was interested in coordinating the Golden campaign’s own get-out-the-vote effort with the Neighborhood Leaders Program. McFadden showed Shaw her login to the program’s website and how it worked. Golden says she paid no attention to any names, and was not given the list of 200 neighborhood leaders.
Stine and candidate Julian Bell also have access to the website because they are neighborhood leaders. But Joyce Chapman, former chair of the Neighborhood Leaders Program, resigned on Thursday, saying party leaders are not telling the truth.
It seems unlikely that Shaw, a savvy political strategist, needs any data she does not already have. Democratic voters should focus on the candidates, not the party infighting.