Strange Election Stories

Tuesday’s mid-term elections may be over, but they are certainly not forgotten, especially in the state where I reside. Strange people live everywhere, including here in Wisconsin, where a local music store owner who unsuccessfully tried to run for local sheriff is still making headlines.

William Fenrick legally changed his name to Andy Griffith to run for sheriff. On Tuesday, he earned 1200 votes and finished last among the three candidates running for Grant County sheriff.

The former Fenrick told local reporters that he changed his name earlier this year to that of the actor who portrayed the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry on TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show” to gain name recognition. Fenrick… Griffith… whatever… ran as an independent and said his goal was to focus attention on a sheriff’s race that otherwise gets very little press coverage.

The day after the elections he told reporters running as an independent was a rude awakening.

“What I did not take into account was the dominance of the two-party system,” he said.

“It’s all just a big charade,” he said. “One out of 20 people know an issue. Otherwise it’s just that people go vote for a Republican or vote for a Democrat, almost like a robot.”

Needless to say, now that he lost the race, Griffith is asking a judge to change his name back to Fenrick. Oh, and one more thing, the fake Andy Griffith is now being sued by the real Andy Griffith. The lawsuit alleges that Fenrick (or the Andy Griffith wannabe) violated trademark and copyright laws, as well as the privacy of actor Andy Griffith, when he used his new name to promote his candidacy.

The lawsuit goes on to say the former Fenrick changed his name for the “sole purpose of taking advantage of the actor’s notoriety in an attempt to gain votes.”

The actor’s lawsuit also asks Griffith to publish disclaimers and an apology in Grant County newspapers that say he has no association with the actor. It seeks unspecified damages and court fees.

If that’s not strange enough… a North Carolina newspaper recently reported that a candidate won election to a local county board there–despite being dead for a month.

According to news reports, Sam Duncan easily won a seat on the Union County’s Soil and Water Conservation board, but while county elections officials knew of Duncan’s death, no one told the voters.

What’s more, the Democratic Party ran newspaper ads endorsing him the weekend before the election, and literature distributed near the polls included his name. Party officials told reporters they didn’t know Duncan had died when they placed the ads and printed the literature.

He won by 12,000 votes.

Related Articles:

What Was He Thinking?

Dumb, Dumber and Just Plain Sad

Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.