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Eat Your Heart Out, Jim Traficant

An incarcerated Milwaukee alderman could be headed for re-election:

For 10 months, a section of this city’s North Side has had no alderman at City Hall. Michael McGee Jr., the man its residents elected to the Common Council, has been behind bars, awaiting trials on federal charges of extortion and soliciting bribes from business owners in his district and state charges including paying for votes and conspiring to have a man beaten.

Still, when Mr. McGee’s seat comes up for election on Tuesday, he may win once more: without knocking on a door, he received more votes than any of his eight challengers in a February primary. That outcome baffled some here, particularly those in white neighborhoods and suburbs far from his mostly black Sixth District.

Apparently, some African American voters feel obligated to stand up for the outspoken McGee against what they see as a politically motivated prosecution with racial overtones. It's hard to fathom actually voting for a candidate in jail (and the case against him sounds pretty legit, according to the article), but it sure would be a lot easier to have confidence in federal public-corruption cases had the Bush administration not engaged in a pattern of meritless, politically motivated prosecutions against Democrats (including one in Wisconsin).

Also, since no blog post on municipal corruption would be complete without a mention of Buddy Cianci, remember to check out Jamie's profile of Providence's most endearingly crooked ex-mayor.

--Josh Patashnik