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Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000

X-fish’ write-in campaign called off

Fossil expert doesn’t want to add to cost of tabulating election results

October 26, 2000

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— The man who wants to have a long extinct fish declared the state fossil said he would end his write-in campaign if the candidates he was targeting support his effort.

Great Bend fossil expert Alan Detrich has been trying to draw attention to his campaign to have the Xiphactinus fish, or "X-fish," named the official state fossil. He has been urging people to write in X-fish on the Nov. 7 ballot in races where candidates have no opposition.

Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman had expressed some concern about the campaign. She said she doesn't oppose the choice of a state fossil, but that time spent counting write-in ballots could cost taxpayers extra money and delay election results.

Detrich said that wasn't his intention.

"We'll let candidates 'off the hook' if they endorse X-fish," Detrich said Tuesday. "We'll withdraw our candidacy."

Detrich said campaign signs encouraging voters to write-in the X-fish would come down in the next week, to be replaced by "No fishing" signs.

"We're believers in fiscal responsibility," he said. "Let taxpayers put the money in teacher pay raises."

He said the campaign served its purpose by drawing attention to the X-fish for state fossil, and it wasn't necessary for people to deprive human candidates of votes.

Zimmerman had said the publicity behind the campaign concerned her. She had checked with the state election office and decided that her staff would tabulate votes for the X-fish.

But the county would have even bigger problems if the fossil won a race, she said.

"Let's say the X-fish beats me," said Zimmerman, who is running unopposed for re-election as county clerk. "I could file a contest of the election, take it to District Court and say the X-fish can't fulfill the duties of office."

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