Ghost Candidate in Georgia

On November 8, 2016, Tom Price won Georgia's sixth congressional district's election. The race's outcome and the congressional seat was predicted as safely Republican. While the outcome of the election was nothing out of the usual, Tom Price's opponent proved to be a literal mystery. As the state captain for Georgia, I reviewed all of the reported numbers from the election results to see where turn out was strong and where it can be improved. Rodney Stooksbury, Democrat, ran opposed to Price and lost by nearly 80,000 votes. Stooksbury gave Price a challenge in Dekalb, only trailing him by a few thousand votes. After the election, many Democrats have been reviewing election results in order to see what they can improve on next time. In Stooksbury's case, his campaigning methods could prove to be more elusive. That is because a series of events have led many to believe that Rodney Stooksbury is not a real person. Besides a ballotpedia paragrah about the race, I could not find any information, picture or any type of digital footprint of Rodney Stooksbury. Rodney Stooksbury had no website, no social media and "he" did no campaigning. In my search, I came across a news article of a reporter who investigated Rodney Stooksbury. The reporter went to the residence listed for him, but the house was vacant. They asked neighbors if they had any information and they all stated that they had never head of him. Ghost candidates have been a longstanding tradition in elections. They are a unique component of politics that everyone should be aware of. Sometimes, parties will register ghost candidates for ballots who have similar names to front runners in order to throw off voters, resulting in a loss in votes for the real candidate. The reason for Stooksbury serving as a ghost candidate for the sixth congressional district could be attributed to what happened after the general election. President-elect Trump appointed Tom Price as the secretary of health services after his presidential win. This will leave Price's seat up for grabs in a special election early next year. Did Republicans create Rodney Stooksbury as a democrat candidate in order to gauge the turn out of democrat voters?  Or was it the democratic party of Georgia who added a ghost candidate to the roster in order to gauge democratic voter turnout? Ghost candidates can be either a benefit or a detriment to a political party as a lot can be concluded by how much support they receive. Researching candidates online is an almost guaranteed way of ghost busting, also challenging the validity of candidates that are listed on ballots. Ghost or not, Stooksbury did gain support from many voters and this could be the silver lining that many democrats in Georgia are looking for.  

Tamelonie Thomas