Last night, I attended the 2010 Political HobNob held by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando at the Crowne Plaza Hotel by the airport. Having attended what seems like a million of these HobNob events in the past few years, the HCCMO should be commended for the excellent job they did with this event.
Of course with any large gathering of politicos, there's always something interesting going on. Here's a few of my thoughts and observations from last night:
The way they handled the candidate speeches was great - lined up the candidates in groups, gave them 30 seconds each and that was it. Short and sweet.
A lot of the candidates, even those who are not native speakers of Spanish, made an effort to at least say a few words in Spanish. Having attended other area Hispanic community political events over the past few years, I know that gesture is appreciated and a great way to show respect.
However, if you're attending a Hispanic event and you don't speak Spanish, that's fine, but for heaven's sake, don't just get up there and yell "Hola!" and then continue on in English. Several candidates did this last night and sounded like total goobers. Seriously though, how hard is it to learn a short phrase? Try this: "gracias por su apoyo." It means "thank you for your support." Nice and polite. C'mon now, if you're smart enough to run for office, you're smart enough to memorize four words.
Why do so many HobNobs insist on having attendees vote before they get inside the event and actually talk to the candidates? Seems sort of silly to vote in a race where you don't know much about the candidates, when the actual candidates themselves are standing 50 feet away, waiting to meet you.
I was disappointed to see two of the guys running against one of my candidates putting up their yard signs and actively campaigning at the event, even though they hadn't bought a table. It was very disrespectful of a great organization and all the hard work by the people who planned the event - it's just blatant, obnoxious, pathetic freeloading. If you think the event is worthy enough to attend, then show some respect by buying a table.
Music last night was fantastic. Live guitar and singing. Another fun bit was when they blasted the "Star Wars" theme before reading the results of the straw poll. One of the things I like best about the Hispanic events is that while they take politics very seriously, they have fun too.
Yesterday was District 5 County Commission candidate Ted Edwards' birthday, and his present was a landslide victory in the straw poll. He received 142 votes (40% of the vote), Doug Kinson, who did not attend the HobNob, received 66 votes (19%) and Robert Shelly Talley received 25 votes (7%).
Looks like the Republicans are in pretty good shape in our local Hispanic community. Alan Grayson and Suzanne Kosmas both won their straw polls, but only because the Republican slates are so crowded. I am confident that Republicans will rally behind our nominees in Districts 8 and 24 when we vote in November.
Specifically in District 8, Grayson got 96 votes (27%), and the next top three vote-getters were all Republicans: Daniel Webster (68 votes, 19%), Kurt Kelly (40 votes, 11%), and Todd Long (38 votes, 11%). "Other" candidates got 48 votes (14%) and Fake Tea Party candidate Peg Dunmire got 29 votes (8%). So if you add up just the top three Republicans, you get 41%, and most of the "other" candidates on the ballot were Republicans as well (O'Donoghue, Sullivan, etc.) so the total votes cast for Republicans last night was probably close to 50%.
This poll also shows what happens to Dunmire when the Republicans are included on the ballot. Doug Guetzloe and his slime squad, I mean "supporters" were out in full force last night, and I assume that the approximately two dozen candidates and other people I saw wearing "Florida Tea Party" shirts and pins voted for their candidates. So if you don't include the people that Guetzloe and Dunmire brought with them, the total votes she received would be in the single digits, or close to it.
Regarding District 24, Kosmas received 69 votes (20%), Sandy Adams received 63 (18%), Karen Diebel and Tom Garcia both tied at 50 votes (14%), and Deon Long 28 votes (8%). So that gives total Republican votes at 54%, more than double what Kosmas received.
Congrats to Teresa Jacobs, Bill McCollum, Marco Rubio, John Mica, Dean Cannon, Chris Dorworth, Bryan Nelson, Steve Precourt, John Horan, Fred Brummer, Rand Wallis, and Frank Attkisson on their straw poll wins.
You can see full results of the straw poll here. Note that all their percentages include under votes, which would not factor into the numbers when we cast our ballots in the real elections. If I was feeling industrious, I would recalculate the above figures for the vote percentages, but I'm just not feeling like doing a lot of math this morning, sorry. Anyone else want to do so, please post in the comments.
Managed to get my hands on a copy of Matthew Falconer's book last night. It's already providing me with so much joy and entertainment. From the back cover:
(click image to enlarge)
Good job, buddy. You're running for the highest elected office in Orange County, and you can't even spell "government?" Before you think I'm being overly critical, Falconer's book has been out for at least a year, and I've seen and heard plenty of other people comment on the numerous spelling and grammatical errors throughout the text (see, e.g., page 98, with the headline "SMALLL SCHOOLS"). He's had plenty of time to make corrections with new printings. Really though, how do you miss such an obvious error on the back cover before going to print the first time? And is someone who apparently can't even understand how to use his computer's spell-check program really competent to run Orange County?