Money can't always buy votes

A Republican primary race for St. Johns County Commission seats in Florida may seem an unlikely place for me to find a great big ray of hope, but the defeat of two well-funded incumbents in this race is one of the most promising signs I have seen that citizens can be trusted to call the shots. Check these stories for full details:

Basically, well-funded incumbent Stern had raised $197,470 but narrowly lost to Sanchez, who only raised $7,720. Incumbent Maguire raised $140,000 yet was solidly defeated by Manuel, who had only raised $8,860. In others words, and contrary to received wisdom in cynical political circles, you cannot count on reelection just because you have a lot more money than your opponent (bear in mind the total voting age population of the county is less than 125,000).

What lost the election for these two commissioners was a rising tide of discontent about the way they had mishandled growth. For years they both tended to vote the way big developers wanted, and they both took big chunks of money from big developers. At the same time they seriously neglected the growing need for affordable homes and well paid jobs.

Then they showed hubris in the face of criticism. During the race, Commissioner Stern declared that "Over the past five to six years, the Board of County Commissioners has done a commendable job in negotiating with the developers to provide infrastructure improvements." Clearly this is not what most voters think. Those in her own party disagreed enough to express themselves in the voting booths.

I only hope that this trend can be generalized and in November people across the country will vote the way they feel about the following statement:

"Over the past five to six years, the Senate/House/President has done a commendable job of __________ to provide __________."


No comments:

Post a Comment