The finish line continued to recede into the mist. With the first-round voting period -- Feb. 2 to May 1 -- now 81% complete (indicated by the red dashed line in the graph above), no candidate has accumulated anything like 81% of the qualifying vote numbers required to advance to the second round of balloting. Leader (and undeclared 'fantasy' AECorp candidate) Ron Paul has just 38% of his required qualifying vote total. Leading declared candidate, and very active campaigner, Buddy Roemer has managed to garner only a disheartening 16% of his required vote total. And following behind him, all other declared candidates in our Top-20 list have amassed only a combined 4% of the qualifying votes a single candidate would require to advance. AECorp's 29 declared candidates are the only ones worth seriously considering in any analysis of voting results, since undeclared 'draft' candidates are merely Hamburger Helper names AECorp has added to its web site in a somewhat sad effort to lend imaginary star power to its line-up -- and none of these 'draft' candidates, to our knowledge, has expressed the slightest willingness to be 'drafted' by AECorp. In a particularly telling statistic, only 4 of the 29 actual declared candidates (the starred names in the graph above) have even made it on to our Top-20 list (the cut-off for the list this week being just 0.9% of a candidate's required qualifying votes). Right out of the gate, in its first-round balloting, AECorp has failed very publicly and, we don't doubt, rather discouragingly for AECorp owner/operator and shadowy billionaire Peter Ackerman.
Individual Candidate Highlights:
- Buddy Roemer: Despite the head start Roemer's failed quest for the Republican nomination and his comparative 'brand name' recognition provided, Roemer's very active campaign continued to flat-line this week. Roemer gained just 119 qualifying votes, down from 177 last week -- the fourth week in a row that his performance failed to beat or even to match the previous week's. We assume that the combined burden of Roemer's recent embarrassing transgressions, including what some feel were blatant efforts to buy votes, has irreversibly tarnished his image among potential new supporters.
- Rocky Anderson: Self-styled anti-corporatist and progressive Rocky Anderson, past mayor of Salt Lake City and standard-bearer of his own Justice Party, earned naught but groans of derision from his small but once-passionate following when he chose to sleep with the devil by throwing his hat into Americans Elect Corporation's ring in March. Since then his campaign has gone nowhere. It continued that motionless death march this week, with Anderson persuading only 153 Americans to lend him their qualifying votes. Critics have suggested that Americans Elect Corporation was founded on the strategy that its enticing promise of 50-state ballot access, bought and paid for by a shadowy billionaire, would prove irresistible to ethically shaky (and thus infinitely malleable) also-ran presidential wannabes...just about the only part of AECorp's strategy which still looks ingenious. Anderson's fate at AECorp appears to once again affirm the old truism that making a deal with the devil is always a sucker's bet.
- Laurence Kotlikoff: Boston University economist Kotlikoff continued to cling by his fingernails to our Top-20 list, attracting just 93 new qualifying votes. Kotlikoff might do well to answer our candidates challenge to "fix AECorp first."
- Michealene Risley: Last week we reported that filmmaker/author/activist Risley had been displaced from her previous 17th-place position on our Top-20 list by an interloper coming out of nowhere, with apparent assistance from AECorp's invisible webmasters. Risley clawed back her 17th-place spot this week with 81 new qualifying votes. She too might be wise to consider accepting our candidates challenge.
Although he is not yet a declared AECorp candidate, Walker's 'draft' candidacy bears close scrutiny. We reported last week that, in an unannounced gambit, AECorp quietly moved candidate Walker's personal goal-posts by upgrading his qualifications from "Other" to "Former Head of a Federal Agency," thus magically slashing by 80% the number of votes Walker would require in order to qualify to advance to the next round (confusing, we know; it's an AE thing). As we mentioned in that report, this would be much ado about nothing except for Walker's membership in AECorp's insiders' ring (its Board of Advisors), the considerable effort the Corporation and its cheerleaders have recently put into talking up a possible Walker run for the Presidency, and the many millions of dollars Walker could bring to bear in support of his run should he choose to, thanks to his apparently bottomless support from the ultra-conservative and fabulously well-endowed Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Walker's claim to be a "Former Head of a Federal Agency" is tenuous at best. He served as head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for nearly a decade as its Comptroller General, but the GAO is a congressional office, not a federal agency. By law, federal agencies are arms of the Executive Branch, not Congress, and have national rule-making and legal enforcement authority, which the GAO does not. A Twitter exchange with Walker we had the pleasure of this past week demonstrates that Walker himself (not merely some invisible AECorp webmaster) supports his questionable representation as a past head of a Federal Agency:
@AETransparency: "Ask @DaveWalkerCAI: do you claim to be the "Former Head of a Federal Agency"?"
@DaveWalkerCAI: "@AETransparency - I headed the U. S, GAO for about 10 years. GAO had over 3K employees. I have also headed two other federal agencies. DW"
@AETransparency: "@DaveWalkerCAI Thanks. So you're saying a congressional office (GAO) is "a Federal Agency"? You know the definition, right?"
Keeping your eyes open for further developments in this intriguing story may be worthwhile.
Check back every Saturday afternoon for updated 'Weakly Voting Highlights,' and follow @AETransparency on Twitter for more breaking AECorp shenanigans news as it happens.