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A campaign oddity: John McCain's camp urges folks to vote in Washington, D.C.

October 6, 2008 |  7:20 pm

Let us now praise the anonymous John McCain staffer (or staffers) who a few weeks back sent out an e-mail intended for residents of the District of Columbia.

The guts of the message: "The last day you may apply for a general election absentee ballot is October 28, 2008. We recommend sending your application as early as possible."

D.C. is an odd governmental duck. Created to serve permanently as the nation's capital -- distinct from any state's jurisdiction -- it is a federally supervised municipality. It took about 150 years for the city to gain anything approaching self-governance rights, and it still does not have voting representatives in Congress.

Beginning in 1964, though, it became part of the presidential voting process. And since then, there has been no surer thing in U.S. politics than a Democrat carrying the district and its three electoral votes.

How sure of a thing? The worst showing by a Democratic candidate in Washington, D.C., came in 1980, when then-President Jimmy Carter won ONLY 74.8% of its vote. Four years ago, John Kerry racked up 89.1% of its vote (not quite a record; that was set in '64, when then-President Lyndon Johnson won 90.3%).

All of which is to take note of this -- when someone working for the Republican presidential ticket encourages Washington, D.C., residents to cast their ballots, that truly is an example of putting country first, self-interest second.

-- Don Frederick

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