Glenn Champ is a man with a past — a criminal past — and he wants the voters of California to elect him governor because, as a criminal, he can deal better with politicians.
No, really. He said that.
A registered sex offender, someone who served time for voluntary manslaughter (“a tragic accident”), Mr. Champ was introduced to delegates at the state’s semi-annual convention and allotted 10 minutes to make his case.
Champ’s rap sheet is lengthy. Court records show that in 1992, he pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed firearm. In 1993, he was convicted of two counts of assault with intent to commit rape and as a result was placed on the state’s sex-offender registry.
In March 1998, he accepted a plea deal on a charge of loitering to solicit a prostitute; later that year, he pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge after hitting a man with his vehicle, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, according to court records.
In an interview Friday, Champ acknowledged his criminal record, which was reported by KMJ radio in Fresno.
Champ said the assault case “was just for picking up some underage prostitutes” and resulted in a 90-day jail sentence. He said he turned his life around after the incident.
“I found the Lord when I got arrested for picking up the prostitutes,” Champ said. “I was like most people, ignorant in the darkness, in the very dark. I had no peace, had no love, had no joy. And now I do. Praise God for that…. I’ve grown considerably since I met Christ.”
He called the voluntary manslaughter case a “tragic accident.”
“There was a situation where the gentleman, he was a little bit drunk and was trying to get violent and I left the area as quick as I could and apparently he got in the way. I didn’t see him or even know I hit him until about four hours later, till it came on the news,” Champ said.
Champ said his life experience could help him deal with politicians in Sacramento. He calls them criminals, saying, for example, that they routinely infringe upon constitutionally protected gun rights.
“I know what the criminal mind thinks, and I know how it works and I know how to stop it, and that’s something [other politicians] don’t get,” Champ said.
I doubt that knowledge gleaned from being a sexual predator would translate easily to running government, although the way that some politicians screw tax payers, he might be on to something.
What was the state GOP thinking?
A spokesman for Brulte, who introduced the candidates after the close of official convention business Sunday, declined to say whether the chairman was aware of Champ’s past. In a written statement, Brulte said five of the six GOP gubernatorial candidates who have qualified for the ballot participated in the party’s convention, and four of them were available to address attendees Sunday morning.
Another candidate, Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount, also spoke.
“We’re not in the business of vetting candidates, and we don’t pick winners and losers,” Brulte said. “Republican voters should get to decide who runs against Jerry Brown.”
That statement goes a long way toward explaining why the California Republican party is a joke. There are Democratic supermajorities in both chambers and the last “real” GOP governor who wasn’t a celebrity tool was Pete Wilson whose term ended in 1999. Only 15 out of the 53 House members are Republican and no US Senator has been elected from the GOP since Pete Wilson in 1988.
Perhaps the state party should, in fact, be in the business of vetting candidates — at least keeping the certifiable loons, crazies, sex offenders, and murderers off the ballot.