Idaho Statesman reporter Patrick Orr has a full story today on Cynthia Clinkingbeard, the 1st District congressional candidate who was arrested over the weekend after threatening Staples employees with a 9mm handgun. The former physician, whose medical license was revoked in 2005, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault and one count of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime, Orr reports; she also was suspended from her college teaching post for "erratic behavior."
Here's the thing: This is the second time in 16 years that a candidate who was also a physician has filed for Idaho's 1st District congressional seat and then had a public meltdown; the last one, back in 1996, was running against Helen Chenoweth in the GOP primary. I was on the reporter panel at KTVB's "Viewpoint" program when that candidate, William Levinger, offered me $5,000 in hundred-dollar bills for an on-camera kiss (I declined); later in the interview, after I'd left the studio, he removed his clothes, refused to leave and was arrested for trespassing.
Back then, that prompted me to look up some other odd candidate behavior over the years. Some examples: When Republican Roger Fairchild announced his bid for governor back in 1990, his big news conference featured his ex-wife shouting out allegations of wife-beating and cocaine abuse. In 1996, a Democrat announced for Latah County Sheriff from inside the county jail, where he was serving time on a misdemeanor assault charge. Julius E. Beyer Sr., who had a long arrest record, said he was fed up with local law enforcement.
Jim Sorrell, a candidate for mayor of Boise in 1985, didn't halt his political bid after he was accused of exposing himself. Instead, he reportedly contacted the North End Neighborhood Association and asked to be included in a candidate forum, saying he needed more exposure.
But few can match Thomas Bennett, who ran for Congress in 1875. He actually went to Washington and served in Congress for nearly two years before the folks back in Boise discovered he hadn't really been elected. As governor of Idaho, he had been in charge of tallying the votes.