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Final Sprint: Get Out The Vote

Tom PattonEarly voting starts Monday, and the mail is full of material for every candidate in the race for State Senate District 8.

Not to mention my phone is ringing off the hook.

I’m what they call a ‘super voter’, which means I haven’t not voted (I think) since I was first eligible in 1976. Every primary, every general, every special… I take this voting thing seriously.

But it does mean that when voting time rolls around, I’m popular. Probably more so than any other time.

But it also means I get everybody’s material, every phone call, and my door usually gets knocked on multiple times. Candidates know where the super voters live, and know that we’re more likely to get out and vote.

That becomes very important in an election like the one we have coming up September 15th. Statistically, a mere 8,000-9,000 votes can win this election, given the number of registered Republicans in the district, the number of candidates, and the projected voter turnout. That’s not a lot of people to be gotten to the polls, but motivating people when they’re barely aware there’s an election can be pretty difficult.

People like me, of course, are pretty aware. We live and breathe this stuff. And it’s difficult to know how anyone paying the least little attention would be unaware. But that is how things are, and candidates have to deal with that.

So, they send out literature. Postcards, mostly, and if you’re any kind of voter I’m sure you’ve seen more than one.

I was the recipient of a push-poll the other night. While they tried to legitimize it by asking who I would vote for, you could tell from some of the other questions just exactly who it was intended for. We’ve actually received several polling calls, but some don’t want your answers if you work in the media. I’ve never quite figured that one out unless it’s because they think you’ll be too well informed. “What, you might have been paying attention, and actually had a chance to meet the candidates face to face? We don’t want to hear from you!”

But here’s the thing. If you have a candidate that you prefer, and you really want him to win, then I can’t over-emphasize how important it is for you to go vote. If you don’t have a candidate you prefer, then you need to start paying attention now, because in 10 days it’ll all be over. I know, there’s a general election and there are some write-in candidates, but you know as well as I do that whoever wins this primary might as well start packing for Tallahassee, and it’s Winner-Take-All.

No run-off for the top two.

Special elections offer a rare opportunity for someone to win an election on a very thin margin. Everything hinges on getting out the vote, and that’s why there are so many calls, so much mail, and so many TV ads. Some have been paid for by actual candidates, but the PACS are really spending the most cash.

And there’s a reason for that.

Florida stands at a crossroads for education, jobs, and trying to find some way to diversify the economy in an effort to put its financial house in order and try to stave off the next recession. Between the loss of jobs, a roller-coaster housing market, questionable education standards, and taxes looking like they’ll blow through the roof when we were promised they would go down, people have started to leave Florida in greater numbers than they are coming in. That’s a trend that will be difficult, but necessary, to reverse. And whomever wins this special election has an opportunity to serve nearly 10 years in the Senate. They’ll finish out Senator King’s term, then be eligible for two more full terms in office before term limits take hold.

And we all know about the advantages of incumbency.

So, it’s an important election. I really hope every registered Republican in the 8th Senate district will get out to vote. If you know another registered Republican, be sure they get to the polls, too.

And, if you’re still undecided, we do have one more opportunity for you to hear from most of the candidates, and we hope all of them. We have confirmation from Art Graham, Stan Jordon, and John Thrasher that they will all join us for a radio debate next Wednesday on The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show on ABC 1320, WBOB.

I hope you’ll join us.

4 Responses »

  1. Has Dan Quiggle shown up for a single forum?

  2. Art is going to surprise everyone in this.

  3. JAR - I know that he was at the recent First Coast Republican Club's forum down at the Beaches.

    I think this is just a scheduling conflict.

  4. Quiggle doesn't show up because he doesn't want a bunch of people to hear the same rhetoric he has been spewing out! If he is pushed he talks about what a great tax crusader he is, even though the Tea Party leader has been on record saying that he doesn't want his organization affiliated with Mr. Quiggle. It really seems like he thinks he is running for US Senate rather than State Senate!