Monday, January 12, 2009

Morgan Picks Up Republican Vote

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

State Comptroller John Morgan says he's working the phones but concedes he's yet to collect enough Republican votes to keep his job in this week's state constitutional officer elections. He's picked up at least one Republican. Rep. Kent Williams says he's voting for Morgan. He needs at least three more GOP votes.

The constitutional officers voiced worries today that Republicans may politicize their jobs. With GOP lawmakers meeting this afternoon to choose their nominees to replace Morgan, Secretary of State Riley Darnell and treasurer Dale Sims, we talked with the trio at a meeting of the state Funding Board. Read the Q&A after the jump.

Plus, House Democratic leader Gary Odom questions the fitness of Ira Brody and Justin Wilson for constitutional offices, and Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle calls on the candidates to disclose their latest campaign contributions. We're certain Republicans will take these demands under advisement.

Q: What have you guys got to say about the process so far to pick your replacements?

Morgan: It is a political process by which the nominees of the caucuses are chosen. But the offices historically, at least, have been very nonpolitical in function. Our responsibilities have not much of a partisan aspect to them at all.

Q: So are you concerned that your jobs may become politicized?

Riley: The answer is yes

Morgan: To the extent that whoever is comptroller approaches the job the way that it's been approached for the last 54 years, everything will be fine. Somebody could take a different view, and if somebody were so inclined to take a more political view of the functions of the office, then they could certainly do that and I think that would be detrimental to the state.

Q: You think they will do that, right Riley?

Darnell: Yes.

Q: Why?

Darnell: Well if you look at some of the candidates out there and some of the things that have transpired, it kind of gives me a bad feeling.

Morgan: Just make sure you get these quotes attributed to the right person.

Darnell: None of the three of us have ever used our offices for political purposes or to try to give one side the advantage over the other. There's a feeling in my situation that somehow we control elections or that we fix elections. There's a feeling that we manipulate the process somehow. That scares me. If they think that's the way we operate, maybe they think that's the way we ought to operate.

Q: If you're fixing elections, you're not doing a very good job.

Morgan: That's what I was going to say. If you've got the ability to do that [fix elections] then you ought to be turned out for incompetence.

Q: Any of you guys think you've got a chance to win?

Morgan: There's a chance. Right now, I can't name the votes that would be there for me to win.

Q: Are you working on it?

Morgan: I am continuing to have conversations with members, both Democrats and Republicans, about kind of where they see things going and what the possibilities are.

Q: And you haven't found a single Republican who would be willing to vote for you?

Morgan: I didn't say that. I just said I don't have the numbers right now.

Q: How many numbers do you have? Who are they?

Morgan: I don't think I'd be well advised to get into that level of detail at this point.

Sims: Right now, they're telling me they want to find out who their nominee will be.

Q: So you're pulling for Ira Brody?

Sims: I don't have a dog in that hunt.

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