This one’s in the bag
Members of 912 participated heavily in the past elections, and we saw 14 of our 22 “leader’s picks” win the day. From serving on the campaign staffs, walking precincts, making phone calls, putting up (and taking down!) signs, distributing flyers, waving signs and working the polls – not to mention writing checks, our members made a real difference in this momentous election.
Some of our “special friends”, for whom we worked the hardest, either won their races, or came so much closer than any of the “professionals” expected. We have all learned a lot from the experience and will have many fond and poignant memories from elections 2010.
Here’s a snapshot of how “our” champions did:
Grassroots favorite Marco Rubio triumphed over Kendrick Meek and Charley Crist to win 49% of the vote for US Senate. His victory speech brought tears to the eye, and his championing of the American dream is sure to bring comparisons to Ronald Reagan (I prefer that to the media’s depiction as “the Republican Barack Obama”). Crist, slimy to the end after turning his back on his party, tried unsuccessfully to get Meek to withdraw from the race with help from Bill Clinton, but was ultimately rebuffed and (hopefully) is finished in Florida politics. Kendrick Meek, by comparison showed real class and hopefully will have some role in the future. Can’t really say his ideology is a match for our 912 politics, but the campaign he ran was a credit to his party and to Florida.
Rick Scott / Jennifer Carroll, after being behind in the polls and subject to relentless negative ads, pulled out a squeaker when Palm Beach County (which went for Alex Sink by 71K votes) did not rally enough in the final count to deny them the win. Statewide it was Scott 49%, Sink 48%. Lot’s of 912ers turned out for their Monday rally and lots of calls were made on their behalf, including over 1200 by Tyler Armstrong alone.
Lt. Colonel Allen West, a very frequent visitor to 912 meetings and without doubt the favorite of our membership (and America) turned in a decisive win over Ron Klein who used every rotten trick in the book to smear his reputation, steal his identity by releasing Allen’s social security number in a mailing, and at the end, not even mention his opponent in his concession speech. Reversing the 54-45% loss in 2008, the rematch had Allen on top 54-46%.
Tami Donnally, a 912 member ever since that first day at McKenna’s, waged an amazing race against a popular, entrenched incumbent, with little or no financial backing from the county or state GOP. With dedicated volunteers, many hours and lots and lots of personal energy and faith, Tami held the lead in the early returns and only fell behind as midnight approached, finally losing to Joe Abruzzo (“the anointed one”) 53-47%, getting over 24,000 votes of the 51K cast. With that kind of performance, she should have no trouble getting backing from the “establishment” should she choose to run again, and kudos go also to Melissa Andrews and hubby David Donnally for making it all work.
In the county commission race for District 2, Sherry Lee battled School Board maven Paulette Burdick to a 58%-42% loss in a district with 51% Democrat registration versus 24% Republican. Getting about 16,000 votes out of 38K cast, it is clear that quite a few of the Independents went for Sherry, as well as some of the Democrats. With a campaign started at the last minute after Mary Brandenburg dropped out of the race leaving Paulette unopposed, Sherry and her dynamite campaign team of Michelle Kirk and Gabriella Gosline almost did the impossible. Like Tami, support should be forthcoming for Sherry if she chooses to run again and her team will be in demand.
In other races of particular 912 interest, Lizbeth Benacquisto won a 54-46% victory over Kevin Rader in Senate district 27, despite only getting 40% of the Palm Beach County vote, and Jess Santamaria triumphed over Republican John Carroll and Independent Andy Schaller in a 3-way race for county commission district 6 with 58% of the vote.
Meanwhile, in Congressional district 19, Joe Budd battled Ted Deutch to a 63-37% loss in another 51% Democrat district – showing strength with Independents and some Democrats.
In House district 89, Steve Rosenblum had early strength in the absentee and early voting but fell behind in the evening, finally losing to former Lake Worth Mayor Jeff Clemens 61-39%. Unlike a lot of the others, the battle in FH89 stuck to the issues and was friendly, Jeff even offering to support Steve for possible future board appointments.
And finally, in the difficult (52% Democrat) House district 90, Alison Rampersad succumbed to Irv Slosberg, 66-34%.