Corporate 'candidate' fails to make ballot in Maryland's 8th district
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) has plenty of company on the ballot in Maryland's 8th district, but he won't have a company.
With filing officially closed in the state as of Tuesday night, four Republicans and three Democrats, including Van Hollen, are running for the Montgomery County-based seat in the Sept. 14 primary. Two more candidates -- one Libertarian and one from the Constitution Party -- will be on the ballot in November. But another hopeful who has drawn an outsized amount of attention didn't make the cut: Murray Hill Inc.
The small Silver Spring-based public relations company caused a stir earlier this year when it announced that it would run for Congress as a protest against the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which found that corporations have the same rights as individuals do when it comes to making campaign contributions.
"Until now," Murray Hill said in a January statement, "corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves."
Whatever the Supreme Court said or didn't say, Murray Hill had to clear another hurdle -- election law. In order to run in the Republican primary, Murray Hill had to be registered to vote as a Republican. In May, the company's effort to register was rejected by the state Board of Elections, after the Montgomery Board of Elections issued a similar rejection in March. But the company kept trying.
Last Friday, according to a report on the Baltimore Sun's Maryland Politics blog, Murray Hill president Eric Hensal showed up in Annapolis to file the company's campaign paperwork. According to the Sun:
[Election Board official Jared] DeMarinis, referring to a pocket Constitution, informed Murray Hill that, at age 5, it is not old enough to run. A candidate for Congress must be at least 25.
DeMarinis stamped "disqualified" on the candidate's filing forms, apologized and shook hands with Hensal.
"Officially," Hensal told DeMarinis, sounding official, "I'm appalled at this anti-corporate bigotry."
What's next for Murray Hill? The company has more than 10,000 fans on Facebook and will be "debating" Van Hollen at a forum at Northwood High School in Silver Spring July 20. (Van Hollen, a prominent critic of the Citizens United decision, has been supportive of the company's efforts).
There's always the possibility that Murray Hill could mount a write-in campaign in November. Given the company's youth, what would happen if it actually won? Someone call the Supreme Court.
July 8, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections , Ben Pershing , Montgomery County
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