Only One In Five of Us Voted In Primary Election
By Charles Parker // August 27, 2014
majority of vote cast before Election Day
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Well, the primary election is over – and only one in five of us voted.
A low voter turnout usually means that the candidate with the most super-voters – many of whom vote early – wins. In fact, over 50 percent of the vote was cast before Election Day.
This scenario does not bode well for the conservative / grassroots / activist / Tea Party wing of the Republican Party – especially in County Commission District 2.
Jim Barfield – of the establishment/good ole’ boy/EDC wing – won. He beat well-funded and high-profile candidate Michael Hartman. Barfield will now take on “no party affiliated”/former Republican/”can’t we all just get along guy” Jack Smink in November.
Many reasons can be cited for the Hartman loss.
Some will claim that it was the endorsement of Sheriff Wayne Ivey for Barfield. I follow these things fairly closely and did not know about this until after the polls had closed. I’m not convinced that was a factor.
Some will claim that Ron Taylor siphoned of votes from Hartman. Well, probably.
But Taylor’s support was a known quantity from Day One, so simple political strategy could have mitigated that issue.
Some will claim that there was a lot of dirty politics, personal attacks, and mud-slinging aimed at Hartman and it turned voters off.
I got a couple of ominous mailers, but I don’t think they were enough to keep people from the polls – or vote the other way. There were plenty of mailers that offset the negatives with positives.
Let’s remember – this is the third straight election that the establishment/good ole’ boy/EDC wing has won this primary. And this through the height of the 2010 Tea Party wave around the country. They have two issues to deal with if they are to be successful next time around – numbers and perception (maybe they are one in the same).
I know many of these folks – some of them very well. They are generally nice people, they follow politics closely and with passion. They are engaged and that is a good thing.
But they are also strident – and sometimes to a fault. And sometimes this comes across as overbearing – especially on Facebook where many of them have little filter.
Wayne Justice won. Thad Altman won. John Tobia won. Barfield will beat Smink. Curt Smith stands alone. And the activists will continue to have all of their meetings with all of their different groups that all have kind of the same principles and goals.
But – at least in County Commission District 2 – until the conservative/grassroots/activist/Tea Party wing of the Republican Party broadens their appeal and learns social graces on social media, they will not be winners at the polls.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Parker is a longtime resident of Brevard County and has been writing for various publications for the last 40 years – both print and digital. Parker covers space, politics, religion, and other news and special events for Space Coast Daily.
Currently, he is an aerospace engineering teacher at Merritt Island High School. He is also the director of both the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology and the Academy of Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism at MIHS. He is a professor of Humanities and World Religions at Eastern Florida State College and Valencia College.
Parker has worked extensively in the tourism and aerospace industries in Brevard. He has also been a United Methodist pastor and director of a non-profit to help young adults aging out of foster care. He was formerly a board member at Brevard Achievement Center and the Childcare Association of Brevard. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Children’s Services Council from 1999-2003.
Parker earned a BA in Organizational Management from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married, has four children and one grandchild.
AUTHOR NOTE: These views are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Brevard Public Schools, Eastern Florida State College, or Valencia College.
You can follow Parker on Twitter @cparker_scd