Great news: The liberal blog Talking Points Memo announced the finalists for the 2008 Golden Duke Awards two days before Christmas, and - ta-da! - Oregon's own Bill Sizemore made the cut in the Best Local Scandal category.
The Golden Duke Awards, named for former California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, recognize distinguished achievements in the fields of political scandals, corruption and general sleaziness. In addition to Best Local Scandal, categories include Sleaziest Campaign Ad, Best Election Season Fib, Outstanding Achievement in Corruption-Based Chutzpah, Best Scandal - Sex and Generalized Carnality, and Best Scandal - General Interest.
In the video announcing the finalists, TPM's Josh Marshall says the anti-tax crusader-slash-racketeer is a worthy contender for his "general lying on federal tax statements, laundering money, lying under oath - lotta good stuff like that."
But the competition is stiff, including former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned from office in September facing a slew of charges including obstruction of justice and presently is serving four months in jail after a plea bargain. And then there's New Jersey city councilor Steve Lipski, aka "The Midnight Whizzer," nominated for "public urination onto a crowd at a Grateful Dead show."
Kilpatrick "is a guy who could have been nominated in almost every category," Marshall says. In fact, Kilpatrick also is nominated for The Big One, Best Scandal General Interest, but faces tough competition there from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, George W. Bush (for "general merit in overseeing the collapse of the economy") and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (for "general scandals almost too numerous to mention").
One of the smallest states in the country, population-wise, lands TWO finalists in the Best Scandal - General Interest category. Pretty tough to top that.
TPM will announce the Golden Duke winners on Dec. 31. Unfortunately the decision is being made by a panel of judges, not by popular vote, so Oregonians will not have the chance to stuff the virtual ballot box for our favorite son. But we'll all be pulling for him.
BTW, you can watch all the finalists for Sleaziest Campaign Ad here. Loads o' fun!
Our personal favorite is the one Republican Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri ran against challenger Kay Barnes, accusing her of having "San Francisco-style values" because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who hails from San Fran, gave a fundraiser for her. The ad shows people drinking what appears to be WINE ... and DANCING! (It evidently worked - Graves won.)