Every election I plan to dig into all of those down ticket races and make intelligent decisions about judges and school board posts, etc. Now that I am gifted with some free time on the eve of the election, here goes.
Times endorsements: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1240701.ece
Tribune endorsements: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/jul/30/5/our-endorsements-ar-446525/
Bill Nelson has been a decent enough Senator. Far too conservative for my tastes, but you need to be conservative in Florida, and he’s nowhere near as conservative as he could be. He could easily have become a preening Joe Lieberman Blue Dog type, but he didn’t, and for that alone he’s pretty much earned my vote. Regardless, I looked into his primary opponent, Glenn Burkett, anyway. He describes himself as a “Hybrid Democrat” willing to take ideas from either party. A nice idea, but it seems an empty one as he’s given no indication of what kind of ideas he would take or where he stands on most issues. His website doesn’t give much info about that, and he doesn’t appear to have held any public office. The throw the bums out strategy may get you lots of nods of agreement, but won’t get you many votes. I’d vote for him for something like state senate, though, so he might set his sights a bit lower.
Supervisor of Elections
According to both local papers, current Supervisor of Elections Office Chief of Staff Craig Latimer deserves a lot of the credit for rebuilding the office after the tenure of self-promoting narcissist Supervisor Buddy Johnson. It’s an office that shouldn’t be a political one in any case, an opinion that was definitely cemented in my mind after Jeb Bush inflicted that sower of human misery Johnson on our county. Thomas Scott served ably on the city and county commission, or at least I don’t recall any particular scandals. But I’m going with Latimer because I don’t think a politician should be in that post.
13th Circuit Judge
Mark Wolfe is an experienced judge whom both papers describe in flattering terms. Johnnie Byrd is a former Speaker of the state house who was the most divisive, polarizing, controversial, and scandal ridden figure in that office until the next guy the GOP installed. This one is a no brainer.
Both papers describe incumbents Ann Ober and Matt Lucas as able justices whose opponents offer no compelling reason to replace them. Ann Ober’s opponent also has a history of DUI arrests. The other Judge race features three non-incumbents who appear to all have quality resumes. Both papers endorse Frances Maria Perrone but neither one really puts together an open and shut case for her, so I’m undecided.
I’m not sure where to come down on the Susan Valdes/Eddy Calcines race. Susan Valdes has popped up in the news frequently during her three terms, but I’m not sure if she’s blameless or a drama queen. Calcines seems like a decent fellow but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference between them, policy wise. I don’t like this potentially burdensome guest speaker notification policy that Valdes is supporting recently but I’m not sure that minor issue is enough to justify booting out an experienced incumbent.
The other Board race on my ticket is a six-way, with five challengers against incumbent Carol Kurdell. First to cross off the list are Terry Kemple, a homophobic and Islamophobic Tea Party-type, and Carl Kosierowski, a former bus driver who calls himself Captain Carl. Robert McElheny is a truck dealer who promises to bring business solutions to the school board, which always spells trouble. Both papers describe Joe Jordan-Robinson as an activist, but in unflattering terms. There is an actual teacher (and former CIA agent), Michael Weston, in the race, so I decided to give his platform a closer look, and I’m impressed with what he has to say about testing, technology, the arts, and extracurricular activities, so I’m going to vote for him. Both papers endorse Kurdell and describe her in very flattering terms, so you probably couldn’t go wrong voting for her instead.