Playing a role in putting a good candidate in office is a gratifying feeling. However, when the incumbent you helped defeat ends up in jail a few years later.... that is just the icing on the cake.
Thus is the sad situation that former State Sen. Jay Paul Gumm finds himself in now.
Back in 2010, I helped Republican Josh Brecheen, a first-time candidate, in his insurgent campaign against Gumm, the entrenched Democrat incumbent. Seemingly against all odds, in a 'Little Dixie' district that had never elected a Republican to the State Senate (more than 80% of voters were Democrats) and facing a two-term Senator, Brecheen procured 56% of the vote, and ousted one of Oklahoma's most prominent and promising Senate Democrats.
After losing the election, Gumm and his family moved to Mississippi, where he took the position of executive director for the Stone County Economic Development Partnership. On Friday, he was arrested for embezzling over $24,000 from the agency. According to news reports, Gumm is the third employee from the SCEDP to be accused of embezzlement in the past year (one woman embezzled over $300,000).
During the 2010 campaign, questions were raised about certain aspects of Gumm's finances (personal and campaign). Do his current money problems have a root in the past? We may never know, but voters in Senate District 5 can take heart that they put the right man in office in 2010 -- and kicked the right guy out.