David Norris's comeback is under way. The gay candidate for president in Ireland -- where he has led all polls even after quitting the race and then jumping back in -- met the hard-to-achieve requirements today to put his name on the ballot.
The senator needed the backing of four county government councils, or the endorsement of 20 fellow members of the Oireachtas, Ireland's parliament. And that was proving no easy feat for an independent candidate without the backing of a major party, even before Norris dropped out of the race in the face of scandal.
Norris had quit after it was discovered he'd written a letter asking for clemency on behalf of Ezra Nawi, his then-partner, who faced imprisonment in Israel for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy. The letter, written in 1997 on official stationery, hadn't been publicized until Norris took a seemingly insurmountable lead in polls to become the next president.
Norris began losing the support needed to get his name on the ballot, with some members of his campaign staff abandoning him as well. But after Norris quit the race, polls showed people wanted him back. And so a comeback began.
He secured the backing of a fourth county council today, according to Irish media, just one day before the deadline.
"If I can make this kind of comeback I hope to God as president I'll be able to help the country make the kind of comeback that it and its people deserve," Norris told the Irish Times.
Election Day is October 27. If he wins, Norris will become the first openly gay man to be president of Ireland, or any country in the world.