Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on the primary results (UPDATED)

I woke up this morning with some of the strongest conflicted feelings I can remember after an election.  Extremely happy about some races, accepting of the results in others, and heartbroken over a few.  Here's some of my thoughts... 


OMG we elected Voldemort.

Seriously though, readers of this site know I was supporting Bill McCollum.  Many of us in Central Florida have known McCollum for years.  He was never very flashy but I was impressed with his anti-gang task force and work fighting against consumer fraud and internet predators.  This race frustrated me immensely because Rick Scott's negative campaigning included so many exaggerations and, in my opinion, misrepresentations.  To claim that McCollum was implicit in the whole Jim Greer debacle was beyond misleading, considering that McCollum was one of the people pushing Greer out of the RPOF chairman's position, and even those recorded phone calls between Greer and Delmar Johnson showed Greer viewed McCollum as an adversary, not an ally.  

I also am hesitant about the idea that our elections are for sale.  There isn't a single person out there who believes Scott would have been taking a photo with confetti raining down on his shiny head if not for the $50 million he invested in his TV and direct mail blitzkrieg campaign.  Here's just a little something fun I made this afternoon as I was thinking about the race (click image for full-size view):
All uses of ebay and RPOF trademarks are for parody or satirical purposes.
It's just a joke, people.

Bottom line, Bill and Ingrid McCollum are good people who have done a lot for our state and the Republican Party, and I am honored to have been able to get to know them and to have voted for Bill McCollum this year.  I really believe he was a better candidate and would have had an easier time beating Alex Sink.

That being said, there is no way I am going to support Alex Sink, and I encourage all other Republicans to hop on the Scott bandwagon with me now.  Do it for these two reasons: the Governor's veto power can block many legislative efforts, and the influence over the redistricting process.  I was hesitant on Scott before because he has very little track record to know what to expect from him, but can only continue to hope that he will stick to his conservative campaign promises and be a good leader for our state and our party. 


There will be a runoff in District 4, but Jennifer Thompson seems to have a substantial lead.  She has worked very hard in this race and has been knocking on doors and meeting with district residents for several years now.  She has shown she is willing to spend time to do the research and fully understand the issues, and I believe she will be an asset for the County Commission, and a great representative for the people of Orange County.  I congratulate her on the job well done so far and predict a solid victory in November. 


Very happy to see Jason Brodeur get the "W" last night.  Beyond just supporting a fellow Gator, I've known Jason for years through his work with the Young Republicans and have always found him to be a stand-up guy.  Say what you want about Seminole County politics, anyone who knows Jason knows what kind of person he is.  Hopefully he will prevail in November, and I look forward to seeing him in Tallahassee. 


Very, very happy to see John Horan victorious last night.  Nothing personal against McLean, as I've said, I've only met the guy once and he seems friendly enough, but I've known Horan since 2002 and know him to be smart, ethical, honest, a dedicated conservative, and just all-around good guy.  

I know the campaign spent a lot of time and effort doing the grassroots work, and looks like it paid off - I heard that he won every precinct where the campaign walked.  I called last night to congratulate him and he was so happy and humbly appreciative of the community support.  This is a guy who really cares about Seminole County and I think he'll do a great job on the Commission. 

MORE COMMENTS COMING LATER...I know which races I've left out...don't worry...will update post soon... 

OK, here's an update... 


I was pleased to see Rand Wallis and Michael Rudisill re-elected to the bench.  In my opinion, if a judge hasn't done anything unethical, then that judge should be retained.  There is an unfortunate practice of running against judges to settle a grudge, prove a point, or, in one race a few years ago, to get revenge against the judge for unfavorable rulings.  A judge is not supposed to worry about being popular, but only about being fair, honest, fair, ethical, fair, unbiased, and did I mention, FAIR.  The role of the judge is to review the facts and evidence, apply the law consistently, and make a ruling based on that.

It is completely ridiculous that Judge Clayton Simmons even drew an opponent, much less was defeated yesterday.  He is so well-respected in the legal community and has done a wonderful job during his years on the bench. Simmons' son was campaigning at the same precinct in Oviedo with me yesterday and was working so hard for his dad, my heart is just breaking for their family.  I do not know Linda Schoonover, I've never met her, but she made some disparaging comments about Simmons on her website, quoting a Sentinel article to insinuate he had done something improper.  Not true...and so disappointing to see a judicial candidate engage in that kind of behavior.

Regarding the Group 5 County Court race, I am so proud of Amir Ladan and all our wonderful volunteers who gave countless hours walking neighborhoods, phone banking, and surviving Tuesday's downpour to campaign at the precincts.  I really loved working with Amir's family too, and feel honored that I got to be a part of their lives these past few months.  Amir's dad has such an inspirational story, and mom Zelda is just so awesome, I don't have words for it.  His wife, Trish, was such a dedicated supporter of her husband, and daughter Ashley is so darn sweet, and asked such neat questions about the elections process.  She asked me last night when we would know the results, and when I told her that her daddy had lost but could run again sometime, her response was "well, maybe not right away.  I like having him at home."  So cute.

Amir was a first time candidate battling against opponents with better name ID and the ability to self-finance their campaigns, but he worked very hard and ran a positive ethical campaign.  I am disappointed in one of the opponent's negative mail, and disgusted with some of the ugly attempts to spread false rumors by certain people.  I believe very strongly that Amir was the most qualified for the seat, and that he will go on to one day soon wear those black robes.

In general, I am left feeling extremely dissatisfied with judicial elections.  There are so many restrictions on what events the candidates can attend, what they can say, what they can do, that it just exacerbates the confusion and disinterest most people have for the judiciary.  It is extremely challenging for a judicial candidate to get their message to the voters, and it seems the only way to do it is to throw a big pile of money around.  Mike Thomas summed it up well in a blog post earlier discussing his predictions right before the polls closed:
Various judge races: Who knows? Who cares? You know, we shouldn’t elect judges. I think it is a very dangerous thing. I think if I had $100,000 I could become a judge.
Sigh...sad thing is, it's pretty true.  Drop $100K in a campaign account, and unless there are photos out there of you kicking a puppy or engaged in some sort of odd sexual fetish, you can probably get elected judge.   


I voted for Kurt Kelly, but I have no problem with Dan Webster.  If he had gotten in the race earlier, I would have happily endorsed him out of the gate.  My hesitation was due to his hesitation in getting in the race.  Other candidates, notably Kelly and O'Donoghue, sacrificed a lot to get into the race because Webster had not jumped in: took a financial hit on their businesses, time away from their families, enduring the glare of the media spotlight, and Kelly gave up his State House seat, which was considered a safe bet for reelection.

Still, Dan Webster has an established conservative track record.  We know what we are getting with him, and I am confident that he would continue that same great record in Washington.  I am happy to officially endorse him today and will be voting for him in November without reservation.  I believe he will be a great replacement for our train wreck of a congressional representative, Alan Grayson.


I am just devastated and heartbroken about this race, and still shocked and horrified over the desperate and unethical way that Craig Miller ran his campaign.  The ridiculous and repetitive misrepresentations about Karen Diebel's record were one thing, but his last minute mailer full of lies and personal attacks from the vicious liberals Beth Dillaha and Margie Bridges was a new low.  I have never been so disappointed and disgusted in a [so-called] Republican candidate.  

All the information and feedback I'm getting is that the mailer did not help Miller at all, but did throw enough mud and confusion around that Sandy Adams was able to just stand by and reap the benefit of seeming above the fray.  I am somewhat gratified to see Miller come in third.  I do hope that the Adams campaign sends Miller a nice thank you note for knocking Karen out of Sandy's way.

Mark my words, today's simpering endorsement of Adams is the last we'll hear of Craig Miller.  We never heard a peep from him before this race, and I will faint and fall to the ground if he actually gets out there and works for Adams or any other Republican candidate, or does anything for the party other than maybe writing a check.

I am extremely proud of Karen Diebel and the wonderful team that worked on her campaign.  It was a privilege and an honor to work with these dedicated conservatives and downright fun people.  I've gained some treasured new friends through this campaign, and will always respect Karen for her strength in the face of adversity, her genuine kindness, her focus on her goals, her respect for other people.  I am honored to call her a friend.

Some have questioned Karen's delay in endorsing Sandy Adams.  Let's all calm down and not lose our minds over a few hours.  The sole and only reason for the delay was that the campaign was getting reports from the Orange SOE and I think the Brevard one too that there were some factors present that might trigger the statutorily required automatic recount.  No one was making any accusations of fraud or improper activity related to the election and there was never any discussion about filing suit or otherwise following in sore loser Al Gore's footsteps.  There was just simply an extremely close race and a desire to let the system work as it is supposed to.

Earlier today, the Diebel campaign issued the following press release, congratulating Sandy Adams and wishing her the best in the effort to take District 24 back from Kosmas:
For Immediate Release
August 25, 2010
Former Winter Park Vice-Mayor, businesswoman, and former candidate for US Congress District 24, Karen Diebel congratulates Sandy Adams on winning the Republican nomination for Congress.
“I will never stop championing the values I fought for in this campaign – border security, lower taxes, the right to life, and market-based solutions to our health care system. The first step in the battle is unseating liberal Suzanne Kosmas and restoring conservative representation to our district. Throughout the next couple of months, I will support Sandy in her efforts to take back this seat,” said Diebel.
Diebel, whose campaign came within one percentage point of victory, is very appreciative of all those who supported her throughout the past year.
“This campaign was a hard-fought effort and one that we can all be proud of. I want to thank my family, friends, staff, and volunteers for their love and support and dedicating countless hours to our effort. I also want to thank the many conservative leaders who stood strongly behind our campaign, especially Gov. Mike Huckabee, Bay Buchanan, Congressman Dick Schulze, Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley, Mat Staver, and Concerned Women for America PAC,” Diebel concluded.


Left this one for last because I really wanted to end on a happy note.  In case you missed it, here are the results in this race:

Teresa Jacobs - 42%
Bill Segal - 23%
Linda Stewart - 19%
Matthew Falconer  - 15%

...leaving Jacobs and Segal in the runoff for November.  Oh yeah, and Matt Falconer dead last.  I'm glad to see that the people of Orange County were smart enough to not fall for Falconer's outlandish ideas, personal attacks on his opponents, and constant lies.  

Contrast Falconer with Linda Stewart, who should be proud of herself for running a positive and ethical campaign where she was vastly outmatched financially.  I disagree with many of her political positions, but she is a nice person and her grassroots campaigning was impressive.

The strong finish for Jacobs, a Republican, indicates voters accepted her as a reformer and fiscal conservative in the campaign.
She overcame the nearly $1 million raised and spent by Segal and outside business groups backing his campaign. Jacobs said her strong support showed that the "hearts and minds and votes" of Orange residents "cannot be bought."

"I don't think you can buy passion and commitment," said Jacobs, who spent $217,000 on her campaign.

The article also mentions some petty sour grapes from Falconer, who stated that he would not endorse Jacobs or Segal.  Apparently he's still believing that he was "the only conservative in the race!"

I spoke to Teresa's husband Bruce earlier today and they are both so thrilled and humbled by how many people voted for Teresa and have continued to support her during the campaign.  She is so happy and ready to continue the fight all the way to November.  Teresa and her daughter Lisa waved signs this morning at the corner of Curry Ford and 436:

Teresa's sign says "Thank You" (click to enlarge)
Bill Segal's campaign sent out an email earlier today, wasting no time in attacking Teresa, saying that voters had a choice between Segal or "a lobbyist who ran to the far-right to rally social conservatives to her cause."  C'mon, Bill, you're better than that.  You know darn well that's not accurate.  As I wrote last Friday:
Let's be clear.  Teresa Jacobs has never been a lobbyist.  She's also never been a Olympic synchronized swimmer or a ninja or a pomegranate whatever other silly things one could imagine.  
And I just simply have not seen any "running to the far-right to rally social conservatives."  The only time Teresa addressed any of those kind of issues was to speak out against Matthew Falconer's lies that she was a liberal and pro-abortion.  Teresa did not proselytize on the topic, merely pointed out that her personal beliefs are pro-life.  I think a dose of reality is needed here...abortion is simply not an issue that county commissions would be expected to address or have power or influence over.  There is no need to worry that she would turn the Orange County Commission into some sort of vehicle for social conservative crusades. 

Teresa Jacobs ran a great campaign and her large margin of victory shows she has great name ID and high popularity in our community.  I am looking forward to continuing to support her campaign and cheer her to victory in November.    

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