Colbert in Three-Way Tie for Water Board Seat

By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 13, 2007; 2:25 p.m. ET

His recent presidential bid may have hit the skids, but Stephen Colbert's political career may not be dead yet.

In a development sure to boost the comedian's résumé, Colbert is in a three-way tie for a seat on the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District Board in Williamsburg.

His base of support in the historic cradle of democracy? Three voters.

On Nov. 6, voters went to the polls to fill Williamsburg's two seats on the 12-member board, which allocates government funds earmarked for environmental preservation.

The race's declared candidate, Gregory Hancock, took one seat. The other seat, uncontested, ended in a tie of three votes each among three write-in candidates: two College of William and Mary students, and the famed host of "The Colbert Report," who this month dropped his efforts to run as a presidential candidate in the South Carolina primary after the Democratic Party denied his application.

In keeping with the democratic principles envisioned by the founding fathers -- some of whom spent a good bit of time in Williamsburg, the three names will now be put into a hat, and the winner of a drawing -- the date of which remained unclear -- will be offered the post. Colbert, although not a Williamsburg resident, will be offered the chance to establish residency and seize the sought-after executive position, said Williamsburg Voter Registrar Win Sowder.

"It's pretty funny, actually," said Sowder, who added that it was originally thought Colbert would be ineligible, but that a Virginia State Board of Elections official told her Colbert would have to be given a chance if his name was picked.

"I think he would be afforded the opportunity to come here and establish a residency if he chose, from what I understand," she said.

Soil and water conservation districts had their origins in the Dust Bowl era as a way to help ailing farmers through government-subsidized programs. There are 47 soil and water districts in the commonwealth, and because positions on their boards are unpaid, uncontested seats are fairly common, said Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District manager Brian Noyes.

"Unfortunately, we're not as well known as what we'd like to be," Noyes said.

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