Scott Ehrisman notices the latest evidence of Jason Gant's unfitness for the office of Secretary of State. In response to Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers's claim that Secretary Gant is using his office to advance partisan interests, Secretary Gant snorts churlishly,
Absolutely not—that's absurd and pathetic. That's just the sad attempt of publicity [Jason Gant, quoted in Tess Hedrick, "Michael Myers Intends to Sue Secretary of State Jason Gant," KSFY.com, 2014.07.29].
Churlish is Leo Kallis's word for Gant's retort. Kallis says Gant's snarkery (that's my word) proves once again that "he's a partisan hack, not a statesman."
Now granted, Myers did call Gant a "hit man for the Republican machine in Pierre" first. As a blogger, I have some obligation to respect folks who can dish back as good as they get.
But Jason Gant isn't a blogger. For five more months, he is the Secretary of State, the chief election officer of South Dakota. More than any other citizen of our state, the Secretary of State has an obligation to speak impartially of every candidate on the ballot that he prints and distributes and counts.
The National Association of Secretaries of State includes this statement of ethics in its constitution:
The role of Secretary of State is a noble calling, and carries a high ethical mandate and a conscientious duty to our democracy. Accordingly, Association members commit to the following:
- Adhering to the highest standards of excellence that will nurture and maintain the public trust;
- Placing loyalty to state and federal constitutions, the law, and ethical principles above private or political gain; and
- For those Secretaries of State who serve as their state's chief elections official, practicing fair and unbiased election administration that recognizes each eligible citizen's right to cast his or her vote, and for that vote to be counted with the highest regard to constitutional foundations [NASS Constitution, Article III, as amended 2008.02.10].
Calling candidates names doesn't nurture public trust, and it doesn't look unbiased.
When he leaves Pierre, Citizen Gant can guest-blog for his former flunky Pat Powers and call Myers and Kallis and Stan Adelstein and me and everyone else who has challenged him all the names he wants.
But a sitting Secretary of State who calls a standing candidate absurd, pathetic, and sad breaches the public trust in his impartiality.