Comedy Central's Hardeeville underdog wins city council election

tbarton@islandpacket.comMay 11, 2012 

In this file photo, Scott Ready shakes hands with Hardeeville Municipal Election Commission member Mae Montgomery after Fourteenth Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen ruled, in an emergency hearing, that Ready's name could appear on the ballot for the town's town council election. Mullen said the local election commission erred in applying the law to remove Ready from the May 8 ballot due to a clerical error on his application and ordered his name appear along with two other incumbents seeking re-election to two at-large City Council seats.

JAY KARR, THE ISLAND PACKET

Hey, Comedy Central, your little guy won. By a lot.

Newcomer Scott Ready upset incumbent Roy Powell in Tuesday's Hardeeville City Council election, clenching 506 votes to Powell's 171.

Disqualified in his bid for City Council because of a clerical error, Ready got some unexpected help from Comedy Central for a write-in bid.

The network named Ready one of its "One of a Kind Candidates" in March in a blog post on its Indecision Forever home page of political comedy and satirical election coverage.

Comedy Central said it would help Ready get his name out to voters, for free, by offering editorial copy for his first media blitz. Even a little guy in rural Hardeeville needs help. Or as the network put it: "Democracy: It's not just for famous people."

However, Ready was able to persuade a judge at the last minute to overrule the Hardeeville Municipal Election Commission.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen said the commission erred in removing Ready from the May 8 ballot and ordered his name included a day before the ballots were to be finalized.

"The people have spoken and have made their desires loud and clear for change," Ready said by phone Friday.

Attempts to reach Powell on Friday were unsuccessful.

Ready's grateful for the Comedy Central endorsement, but doubts it contributed much to his victory.

"It definitely brought out additional publicity that otherwise I wouldn't have received," he acknowledged. "It added some nice comedy and levity to the process. But more importantly, it brought to light questionable practices that have been going on in Hardeeville. (Voters) saw someone who was going to stand up against and correct that."

Ready said a number of residents thanked him during his campaign for challenging the election commission.

"They saw similar practices in the past, but nobody was willing to stand up to them," he said. "This was about ... following the law and ensuring everyone inside Hardeeville is being treated fairly."

Ready mistakenly filed as an "elected official" rather than as a "candidate." He said he thought he was filing to become an elected official, a common mistake his lawyer and the State Ethics Commission said should not have stood in his way.

The Hardeeville commission argued Ready's filing was incorrect and disqualified him from the ballot, a determination Judge Mullen said was not supported by previous court opinions.

The commission's decision raised eyebrows because its chairwoman, Joyce Meeks, is Powell's mother-in-law and did not recuse herself from the decision.

Ready has a pending complaint before the State Ethics Commission alleging Meeks had a conflict of interest. Meeks has denied the allegation.

Meanwhile, Ready said he plans to move ahead with his "pro-growth" platform, pushing support for a planned resort casino inside Hilton Head Lakes, as well as a Jasper County port and new exit off Interstate 95.

"Economic development has to be on the forefront for Hardeeville," Ready said.

Related Content

  1. 'Ready or Scott,' judge says Hardeeville man's name will appear at ballot box: April 3, 2012
  2. 'Ready or Scott': Comedy Central seeks slogans for Hardeeville write-in candidate: March 29, 2012
  3. Hardeeville man disqualified from election seeks ethics investigation: March 19, 2012
  4. Indecision Forever

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