GRAHAM CITY- With the Freedemian government forcing Andrew Carmichael to indefinitely suspend his campaign, the race for Graham Executive has become a two person race. Grady Walton, a local community activist and leader of the group Change For Graham, now has 21% of the vote, while Diane Wooten-Whitaker still has about 72%. About 2% are hoping Carmichael is allowed back in the race and are holding out, and about 4% want local Pastor Kenneth Prince to run.
Grady Walton is seeing a lot of momentum growing, as his largest strength is fighting for the community and speaking strongly against corruption. Wooten-Whitaker, though also an outsider and equally opposed to the system, has been less vocal and hasn’t gone as strong against Carmichael and the others responsible for the Graham City Crisis. Walton frequently tries to twist that to appear as weakness. However, Wooten-Whitaker is always quick to respectfully respond with the reminder that she has not only spoken out about the problems, but presented actual solutions to them unlike Walton.
In a recent debate, Wooten-Whitaker expressed great respect for Walton, but also showed concern about the lack of actual plans or proposals from Walton’s campaign.
“I have immense respect for Mr. Walton. I’ve been part of several of his Change for Graham protests and community projects, and I’ve seen the difference he’s made in this city. We had been oppressed for years here, and no one seemed to notice. Grady Walton has given our people a voice. He gave us the tools to fight back against the corruption we’ve been suffering under. Grady Walton was that voice. However, at this point, we know what the problems are, and we’ve come together to mobilize to fix them. We need more than a voice. We need new jobs. We need money. We need education. We need tourism. We need actual plans. And when voting someone for state executive, we need to choose someone who can actually get things done to bring about the change spoken about from a governmental level. I respect and admire Mr. Walton’s ability to bring about change. However, I mean absolutely no disrespect when I say that I believe he can do so much more out in the community than as a government official.”
Walton was a little bit harsher against Wooten-Whitaker, basically accusing her of not fighting hard enough and settling for gradual change. Wooten-Whitaker responded that gradual change was the only way to get out the hole that decades of corruption had put them in.
“The largest issue for Wooten-Whitaker seems to be debating,” stated analyst Fred Sefren from KGRN. “As we saw with her unfortunate failed vice presidential campaign, while she may have the plans and the knowledge to back them up, she is quite awkward and pretty bad at getting points across a lot of the time. It was her poor debate performance that ruined any chances of her winning the Vice Presidency. She is going against one of the strongest speakers of our day in this election. She can’t afford to screw this up.”
However, he did acknowledge that besides Walton’s unfair attacks, Wooten-Whitaker’s debate performance was the strongest she’s ever had, and pointed out that her praise for and criticisms of Walton were fair and respectable. “She has a very good chance, but she’ll have to stay strong.”
President Rosenthal, Vice President Houser, Former Vice President Tom Morganson, and former Vice Presidential Candidate Marco Nelson already endorsed Wooten-Whitaker, saying that they fully supported her, her plans, and her leadership potential. Former Vice Presidential Candidate Anne Redsten endorsed Walton, citing his community activism and speaking skills.
Former Graham City mayor Barbara Clint actually endorsed Incumbent Andrew Carmichael, despite the investigation and corruption scandal, and made an argument for allowing him back in the race. “If he loses, he loses, but it is not for the federal government to kick him out of the race. He deserves to run. Let the voters decide. He did more than people give him credit for, and I firmly believe that he will work to do more.” However, Clint herself was seen by most as corrupt, and while cleared of all charges of corruption from back in 2009, she has been accused of being influenced by Carmichael and others working with him. Her “elitist” background and close friendship with Carmichael do not help that image.
Current mayor Martin Anthony was much more open to the new candidates and much less supportive of Carmichael. “Honestly, I’d be happy to have either of these candidates replace Carmichael. They both care about our problems, and they both are willing to work to fix it. I’d like to see Wooten-Whitaker be more vocal about the issues with past corruption, and I’d like to see Walton elaborate on how he plans to bring change with tangible government actions. However, both seem like they will help restore our city.”
The federal government announced that they would be turning Graham City back over to Graham State tomorrow, ending several weeks of federal control to help fight corruption and try to stop the city’s rapid move towards becoming even more dilapidated. However, funding reallocated from other nationwide programs like public transit in Quentinsburgh and Laneston will remain dedicated to Graham until the end of the year. Several Graham City and Graham State officials and politicians are under investigation for allowing the city to fall into its current state while catering to the wealthiest most influential individuals.