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No clear wiener in city council race

Gaston dogged by lack of candidates, elusive write-ins


If the two write-in candidates now tied 3-3 for a vacant Gaston City Council position had faced a three-way tie, it would have been Stupid.

Literally.

Stupid is the name of Howard Long’s 11-year-old dachshund, who received at least three write-in votes during the election, although only two of those were cast for the vacant seat. Washington County Elections Chief Mickie Kawai noticed one other “Wiener the Dog” vote, but it was written in for a different council position, she said.

So the long Long dog came up short.

Stupid was the only candidate to run any kind of campaign, which consisted of a slogan on the reader board outside Tire Man, the longtime local business Long runs with his brother.

“Vote for Wiener Dog for Gaston City Council—Integrity for a Change” read the sign, which Long put up a couple months before the election.

It was a way for Long to vent his frustration at the council’s decision to install sidewalks that took away one of Tire Man’s three driveway entrances.

Long said at least four friends told him they wrote in the dog’s name on the ballot, including one who said her husband and grown children did as well.

But Stupid probably would have been barred from the position anyway because he (and Long) live outside the city limits.

And there’s the age problem. At 11, Stupid would have been seven years too young to hold office in Gaston—unless calculated in dog years, in which case he would have been 77.

As of Tuesday, the two remaining candidates hadn't yet responded to the Gaston city recorder's attempts to reach them. Reached by phone last week, Gaston's only Jim Reed in the phone book said he'd heard about the tie but didn't think he was the Jim Reed in question. David Meeker could not be reached at his home.

Recorder Margaret Bell said she has invited the two to Wednesday's City Council meeting, where the agenda includes city bills, the feasibility of Gaston getting its own well, and filling the vacant council seat.