Four years ago, San Bernardino County Sheriff candidate Paul Schrader garnered a respectable number of votes despite late entry into the race and no money for conducting a real campaign. This campaign cycle he started early in hopes of raising money and name recognition. He had a great start.
But now there are reports of inner turmoil in his campaign. His campaign manager and chief strategist, John Wesley Nobles, quit altogether. He not only quit, but he also removed all mention of the campaign from his personal vehicle. Others, mostly those involved with local Tea Party groups, are also defecting.
The source of discontent is Schrader’s involvement with the Sovereign Citizens movement, a group designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “domestic terrorists.” One group of sovereigns, known as the Posse Comitatus, was responsible for the murder of two United States Marshals many years ago.
Sovereigns believe they are under the rule of no one, meaning they do not have to follow many state laws or even the Constitution of the United States, but especially laws requiring licensure, such as driver’s licenses, and taxation, such as the Federal Income Tax. Key members of Schrader’s campaign staff identify themselves with the Sovereign movement, either officially or unofficially though acts and deeds. This includes his webmaster and several volunteers.
In the past few weeks former supporters have noticed Schrader’s campaign reduced to casting aspersion through slurs and smears on a local blog run by a county corruption defendant. Schrader or a designate continues to post under a variety of pseudonyms praising himself and condemning his opponent and detractors, often using vulgar descriptions and untruthful accusations.
More recently, many have noticed the intensity in which the blog comments have become vitrol, with supporters making threats, challenging others to fight, and a wide array of disparaging unproven accusations against his main opponent. The campaign has gone so far downhill, election watchers are actually expecting Schrader to receive fewer votes or a lower percentage than four years ago.
The election is June 3. Besides for Schrader, Sheriff John McMahon and former deputy sheriff Cliff Harris are running for the top spot. If no one receives at least 50 percent of the vote plus one, a runoff will be held during the November General Election.