Evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin died 130 years ago, but that didn't stop him from capturing nearly 4,000 write-in votes in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia's 10th Congressional District this week. See, atheists, secularists and at least one scientist were intent on seeing Republican congressman Paul Broun dismissed from the U.S. House of Representatives.
As you may know, Broun captured media attention after he spoke at a local church this year, claiming that evolution and related scientific theories are "lies straight from the pit of hell." Following this comment, a campaign was launched in an effort to get locals to select Darwin for Congress. The obvious joke, intended to poke back at Broun's controversial claim, was organized by University of Georgia plant biologist Jim Leebens-Mack.
Photo Credit: Facebook
The scientist started a Facebook page called, "Darwin for Congress," which attracted 1,600 "likes" as of Friday morning. The "about" section of the fan page merely reads, "Send a message to Paul Broun and his colleagues. Support write-in candidate Charles Darwin!"
In the end, many people in the community, heeding Leebens-Mack's call, went out and wrote in the evolutionist's name. The biologist said that the nearly 4,000 votes are "in the ballpark, a little bit more" of what he expected.
A screen shot from the "Darwin for Congress" Facebook page
While Leebens-Mack contends that Broun is "vulnerable" for continued re-election, the candidate, once again, won his latest race. The 10th Congressional District, though, is newly-drawn, which could leave some uncertainty up in the air for the future. Still, it is the congressman's fourth consecutive win since he was first victorious back in 2007.
OnlineAthens.com has more about Leebens-Mack's campaign:
In a Thursday interview, Leebens-Mack pointed out that in addition to the write-in votes cast for Darwin, the 10th District contest attracted a large number of other write-in ballots. “Votes” were cast in the race for “Anyone but Broun,” “Anyone else” and various permutations of that sentiment, with “Big Bird” and “Bill Nye, The Science Guy” also earning ballots. [...]
In addition to the write-in votes cast for Darwin in the 10th Congressional District race, a handful of votes for the long-dead British scientist were cast in other races on Athens-Clarke County ballots. Votes for Darwin were tallied in both statewide Public Service Commission races, and for all of the state legislative offices on the ballot, including uncontested seats.
With the 2014 campaign just around the corner, there's no telling how many votes Darwin might receive next go-around.