"Isn't it fun having three governors?" commented Baltimore professional comedian Bob Somersby.
It's no joke. As noted in the above editorial, if the competing claims of Parris Glendening and Ellen Sauerbrey aren't resolved in a timely fashion, Gov. William Donald Schaefer will remain in office. The General Assembly and maybe the courts would have to decide which of three claimants has a legal right to govern the state.
Not only could it happen, it has happened.
In Georgia in 1946, when the Democratic primary was the effective if not legally binding election, the Democratic nominee was quite ill. His forces organized a general election write-in campaign for his son. His opponents organized one for another candidate. Only a few hundred ballots were so marked, and the son of the nominee got the most.
In December the nominee died. The out-going governor said he would not leave office till the newly-elected lieutenant governor was sworn in as governor. The state attorney general ruled that the lieutenant governor-elect was the acting governor-elect. The state legislature voted to install the dead man's son. State highway troopers under the son's direction changed the locks on the governor's office, ousted the governor and installed the son. He started appointing state officials, including, pointedly, a new adjutant general.
The governor set up an office in the information booth on the lobby of the State Capitol. He charged the son with a coup d'etat and ordered the old adjutant general to keep the National Guard from obeying the new man's orders. The son's state troopers took over the information booth, and the governor began trying to run the state from his law firm in an Atlanta office building.
Meanwhile the lieutenant governor-elect set up an acting governor's office in the state Senate president's office. The old governor provisionally resigned. The lieutenant governor-elect took three oaths of office -- two as lieutenant governor and one as acting governor -- and swore in his own adjutant general. Courts ruled differently on who was the legal governor. After three months, the state Supreme Court found for the lieutenant governor, and the son bowed out.