A Vote for 'Rich Whitey'

Vote "Rich Whitey," candidate for the people.

In a curious case of electoral misspelling, a private vendor has misspelled the name of Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney on thousands of electronic voting machines in Chicago, dubbing him instead as "Rich Whitey," the Associated Press reports.

And the Illinois Green Party chairman is hinting that it's not so good for his candidate:

"We don't have any idea what affect that has had on voters," Huckelberry said. "I think something needs to be done above and beyond what they're doing."

Not only has the mistake made Chicago a laughingstock, he said, but "our candidate ... has been tagged with a name that really isn't that nice."

On top of that, the Chicago elections board told the AP that it will cost somewhere in the "low tens of thousands" of dollars to fix the problem.

According to a poll by Southern Illinois University, Whitney figures to pull in 2.2 percent of the vote in a close race between Republican Bill Brady and Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, who succeeded Rod Blagojevich after that whole thing with the plans to sell the Senate seat, you know, happened.

Tangentially, this opens another question: how are rich, white candidates doing these days?

While rich, white people have historically performed well in American politics compared to other races and economic stations, the 2008 and 2010 election years are actually proving that richness isn't a surefire bet.

As The Washington Times pointed out in May, self-funded millionaires didn't do that well in '08:

Of the 51 self-funded millionaires the Washington-based group counted in 2008 races, 37 either lost or quit their races before Election Day. And roughly 41 percent of them never got past the primaries, including California developer and former Republican congressman Doug Ose, who spent $4.1 million in a failed - and expensive - comeback effort.

In 2010, some prominent multimillionaires are struggling in high-profile races. While former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has spent over $140 million on her California gubernatorial bid, she's still running four to seven percentage points behind her Democratic opponent, Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown. In Connecticut, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon has pledged to spend $50 million, much of it from her own bank account, but trails Democratic Attorney General Dick Blumenthal by anywhere form seven to 13 percentage points. And self-funding Republican Bill Binnie lost to Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire's Senate primary.

Other rich candidates have done well. In Florida, for instance, wealthy health care businessman Rick Scott upset Attorney General Bill McCollum with a win in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary. He's now running neck-and-neck with Democratic state CFO Alex Sink.

In any event, being known as "Rich Whitey" probably never helped anybody win an election. Whitman, McMahon, and Scott certainly aren't running on that platform.