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|Tax Assessor for Thompson Township, Fulton County, Pennsylvania|
|Political party||Prohibition Party|
James “Jim” Hedges (born 1939) is an American politician who is a Prohibition activist and the former Tax Assessor for Thompson Township, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. He holds the distinction as the only individual to be elected to public office from theProhibition Party in the 21st century, and the first since 1959. Hedges is the Prohibition Party’s 2016 presidential nominee.
Hedges earned a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Performance from the University of Iowa and holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Maryland. He served in the United States Marine Band as a tuba performer and worked as editor of The National Speleological Society Bulletin.
Prohibition Party activities
In high school, Hedges became interested in the Prohibition Party after reading an article in a newspaper. By the 1980s, he had became active in the party, and rose to the position of Executive Secretary in 2003. In 2005, he was selected as the Secretary of the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society. Hedges also publishes the party’s printed newsletter.
Prior to the 2004 presidential election, Hedges was involved in a schism within the party stemming from alleged misuse of funds and mismanagement by Earl Dodge, the party’s long-time face. Notably, Hedges and others claimed that Dodge sold the party’s headquarters for $119,500 in 1999 with intent to build on his own property, but that Dodge instead kept the money for himself and moved the headquarters to a tool shed. Dodge countered by saying that he placed the funds in a separate party account, and argued that Hedges and others who had put forth the allegations were simply disgruntled with their position in the party. Nevertheless, Hedges and his faction formed the Concerns of the People (Prohibition) Party to counter Dodge, and nominated Washington anti-alcohol activist and preacher Gene Amondson for President. Both Dodge and Hedges claimed their parties were the authentic Prohibition Party. The split abruptly came to an end in 2007 after Dodge’s death, and the reunified party again nominated Amondson for president for the 2008 election.
Thompson Township Assessor
In 2001, Hedges secured the nominations of the Republican, Democratic and Prohibition Parties through write-in ballots to appear as the only candidate for Tax Assessor in Thompson Township. He won the election, and was sworn-in in 2002 by District Justice Carol Jean Johnson. He became the first official elected in a partisan election from the Prohibition Party since two members of the Winona Lake, Indiana, city council were elected in 1959. Hedges was re-elected in 2005, and served until the office was abolished by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2007.
2012 presidential campaign
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After Gene Amondson’s death in 2009, a vacancy opened for the Prohibition Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Hedges announced on February 18, 2010, that he intended to run for the nomination. In preparation, he established a campaign website, sent out a series of postcards through the party’s mailing list and contacted members of the nominating committee. Despite such efforts, Hedges lost the nomination to retired engineer Jack Fellure at the Cullman, Alabama Prohibition Party National Convention on June 22, 2011.
2016 presidential campaign
In the 2016 presidential election cycle, Hedges was initially the preferred running mate of Greg Seltzer, the Prohibition Party’s Chairman who was seeking the party’s presidential nomination. In April 2015, Seltzer withdrew his candidacy and resigned as the party’s Chairman upon being appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to the Maryland Elections Board. Following Seltzer’s departure from the race, Hedges became a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination.