GRAHAM CITY- Former Graham City Mayor Barbara Clint announced earlier today that she will be running for Graham state’s newly vacant Poplator seat in a district serving most of Graham City. Yesterday, the Freedemian Department of Justice announced investigations into two Representatives and one Poplator besides the original Andrew Carmichael investigation. The seats belonging to Representative Victoria Sellers, Representative Michael F. Harris and Poplator Kevin Smeeth are now open as they face an investigation over possible corruption charges.
However, even for an empty seat and currently running unopposed, Barbara Clint has a big fight ahead of her in her bid for the position. Clint was largely considered a big part of the city and state leaders that allowed Graham City to drop to where it is today. She herself faced corruption charges back in 2009, though all charges were dropped. Often seen as snobbish and unattached, Clint was blamed by many for not doing enough to help the issue. Clint’s approval ratings around the time she lost the mayoral election in 2014 were almost as bad as Andrew Carmichael’s approval ratings are now. Clint had 11% approval, while Carmichael has 7%. Clint’s largest difference is that while she didn’t do nearly enough to prevent or reverse the Graham City Crisis, Carmichael appeared to have deliberately let the city go to shambles, while Clint simply had her priorities in the wrong order.
However, Clint appears to be trying to create a new image and start over. Her campaign slogan shows just how hard she’s trying to do that- Campaign ads show the slogan “Barbara Clint. Once part of the problem, Now part of the solution.” Clint made a speech in a rundown neighborhood in Prince, an area she admittedly never would have gone to willingly as mayor, pleading her case. “In this time since I lost reelection, I’ve been talking to people from all different backgrounds here about the real problems this city is facing. I’ll never forget it. A couple weeks before I lost reelection in 2014, a young woman told me she had lost faith in me after realizing how detached I was from problems people like her face. She told me about how all I cared about was myself and my own personal interests. It really made me think. And it made me want to change that. I think I have succeeded.”
Clint also explained that now that she better understands the real issues, and cares enough to do something about it, that her background in business and formerly stingy ways would actually be helpful for figuring out the financial aspects, while her ties to other wealthy influential individuals would help her bridge the gap between the average resident and the wealthy few.
Clint stood by her endorsement of Andrew Carmichael for state Executive, despite looming corruption charges, but clarified her reasoning. “I’ve been friends with Andrew for much of my life. I’ve actually talked to him about the serious issues this city is facing recently, trying to open his eyes. I know him well enough to vouch that underneath his rough exterior, he’s a good man. Blocking him from running for reelection for political reasons honestly makes him look like a terrible person. He’s become the scapegoat for huge amounts of problems that started long before he was even elected. I feel like he could have done more. But even I could have done more as mayor. I have strongly encouraged him to do more while he can as state executive between now and October before he falsely goes down in history as ‘the man who ruined Graham’. I think he’s really starting to listen. I think we’ll see some positive action from him these next few days. He should be allowed to run. Even if he loses the election, it shows faith in democracy and the belief that people can do better.”
Executive candidate Diane Wooten-Whitaker, running to replace Carmichael, seemed skeptical, but optimistic about Clint. “This seems like a different person from the corrupt seeming Mayor Clint I knew before. She really does sound like she cares. She makes good points, and while I’d like to wait and see who runs against her, I think we should give her a chance.”
Wooten-Whitaker’s opponent Grady Walton was much less supportive. “WHAT?? Why in the world should we let one of the very people who contributed to the issue back into office when the door is open to finally change things? No way. I’m not buying it.”
When asked about whether Carmichael should be let back into the race, Wooten-Whitaker and Walton once again gave different answers. Wooten-Whitaker said that while she didn’t trust Carmichael, she trusted the voters to not re-elect him, and was not opposed to allowing him to run, at least until he is formally charged. Walton stated that the federal government was doing the right thing not allowing him to run, and that if he is charged be should be banned from any future political participation.
About 24% of voters in the district, including Creeklyn, Prince, and Knox, currently say they’d support Barbara Clint. However, about 26% of voters say they’re waiting for a better option, and 49% are just not sure this early. Clint would need to tap into that 49% to have a strong chance at winning. She has a chance, but only time will tell if she can take advantage of it.