YOUR OPINION: Tuesday’s Election Results Show Brevard Voters Think for Themselves

By  //  November 9, 2018

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YOUR OPINION: Matt Nye

MATT NYE: Tuesday’s election results show Brevard voters think for themselves, and in so doing lean more conservative than some local media, the political establishment and would-be kingmakers would like. Nowhere is this more evident than in the District 53 house race and the District 2 commission race.

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Tuesday’s election results show Brevard voters think for themselves, and in so doing lean more conservative than some local media, the political establishment and would-be kingmakers would like. Nowhere is this more evident than in the District 53 house race and the District 2 commission race.

In the District 53 house race, incumbent Republican Randy Fine handily defeated Democrat challenger Phil Moore, in spite of having endured sustained and coordinated attacks from not just the liberal-leaning Florida Today newspaper editorial staff, but also from WMMB AM conservative local talk show host Bill Mick.

Fine was blasted by the Florida Today for being too “aggressive” and using his political clout to “interfere” in the District 4 county commission race.

While this type of berating of a conservative elected official is to be expected from a newspaper with a liberal editorial staff, Fine was also accused of “acting like a child” and being just plain “dishonest” by WMMB AM’s Bill Mick.

Mick attacked Fine on an almost daily basis, and frequently questioned his character and integrity, something not even the Florida Today stooped to.

The conservative talk show host threw his support in the primary to two of the most liberal Republican commission candidates on the ballot – incumbent District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith and former District 2 Commissioner Chuck Nelson, and didn’t like the fact Fine got involved in the D4 race to replace Smith, a long-time friend and jet ski buddy of Mick’s, with former District 3 Commissioner Trudie Infantini.

Apparently, it’s okay for Mick to have an opinion and three hours every weekday to express it, but not okay for Fine to put his hard-earned political clout and money where his mouth is.

It’s important to note almost every attack leveled against Fine revolves around his style.

My experience during my last decade in politics has been when the opposition goes after you because of “how” you are saying something, it means you are right on the “what” you are talking about and they can’t beat you with the facts.

Fine is direct, clearly articulates his positions and means what he says. These are not traits you see in typical politicians, at least not those that actually get elected.

Fine also follows through on his campaign promises and is unapologetic about plowing through obstacles, calling out incompetence or going after corruption. The fierce hatred displayed toward Fine during this cycle shows how fearful of the first term state legislator the newspaper and political establishment were – and rightly so.

The newspaper wrote in an article the week before the election, “Fine’s victory would be a big local boost to the combative manner which dominates the national political stage. His defeat would embolden local Democrats and Republicans who desire greater civility in politics.”

If combative means speaking truth to power and fighting for what is right, count me in, along with the voters of District 53. Speaking of “combative,” don’t look now, but…

In the District 2 Commission race, political newcomer and outsider Bryan Lober ran a brilliant primary campaign and successfully secured the Republican nomination after painting former two-term Commissioner Chuck Nelson as a career politician with a track record of raising taxes.

Lober’s postcards were downright funny but made it crystal clear what voters would get if they put Nelson back on the commission.

Lober, a local attorney, self-funded his campaign and promised not to be beholden to special interests. He also pledged to be an independent thinker and shunned those who tried to put a political label on him, pointing out he was registered as NPA for many years before he registered as a Republican.

I fully expect fireworks once Lober is sworn in, because while he seems to be a very calm, analytical personality, he’s seen firsthand now how dirty the opposition plays, and it doesn’t sit well with his innate sense of fairness.

Case in point: because Lober refused to mindlessly embrace the mantra the Space Coast EDC must be funded, the Business Voice PAC endorsed former EDC supporter Nelson in the primary. Lober was painted by that group as a primitive who doesn’t understand the concerns of small business owners.

The Business Voice, led by former Bill Posey staffer Kathryn Rudloff, touts itself as a separate entity from the Melbourne Chamber, but the Melbourne Chamber emailed its members repeatedly recommending they support the Voice’s endorsed candidates.

The Business Voice claims to represent small businesses, saying on its website it promotes “pro-business candidates” and a “pro-business legislative agenda,” but rather than support the fiscally conservative commission candidate that wants smaller government, less regulations and lower taxes – all things that usually help businesses – it endorsed the ultra-liberal Democrat Victoria Mitchner in the general election.

One of the planks in Mitchner’s campaign platform? A $15 minimum wage, which would decimate small business owners across Brevard if enacted.

The Business Voice, however, is so beholden to the concept of corporate welfare and cronyism via the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast it was willing to risk the livelihoods of all small business owners in the county for the sake of the politically connected few.

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I didn’t renew my company’s Chamber membership because of its relationship with the Business Voice and the endorsements they made in the primary.

I look forward to great things from both Fine and Lober, and I hope the newspaper and Bill Mick will treat them fairly as they push their respective agendas in this new legislative cycle, but I’m not holding my breath.

– Matt Nye, Brevard County Watchdog

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