Seven Thoughts About the City of Tampa Elections

The results of the elections were quite surprising…  Here are my thoughts:

1. New Tampa voters are no longer allowed to complain about anything.  Julie Brown, the second place candidate in District 4 received 17 more votes than ALL THREE candidates in District 7 – combined.  The old adage plays here: “If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch.”

2. Mitch Kates really is da man!  I picked his guy (Charlie Justice) in the November election, but picked against his girl (Mary Mulhern) this time around.  Mary had 1/3rd the money and less name recognition, but it was about turnout (see #1 above) – and the trend of South Tampa becoming more Democratic – something Wayne Garcia noted months ago. Karen Thurman needs to hire Mitch, if one of the ’08 candidates don’t do it first… and if she does, RPOF will be in for a long election year.

3.  Speaking of Republicans, why does the Hillsborough County Republican Party sit out these elections?  I know, they are “non-partisan” – but that only means the candidates don’t disclose their political party.  The GOP is light years ahead of the Democrats in getting voters to the polls, but when they stay on the sidelines – they have problems  (see #1 above).   Harrison’s campaign should prove that in low-turnout elections, even a partial GOP machine can be successful – he lost by 588 votes, and there were 1,700 undervotes in his race.

4. Joe Redner is evolving his public persona, and finished a very strong second to Gwen Miller.  True, he still owns Mons Venus among other ventures, but because he doesn’t have to fight Bob Buckhorn any longer, that side of him has taken a back seat to a more populist message.  Wayne Garcia asks if Joe Redner can win – I think he clearly can.

5.  How the heck did Charlie “White Chocolate” Perkins get almost 1/3rd  of the vote?  His only real claim to fame is fighting Ronda Storms.  Given that voters usually have short memories, I doubt many in this north Tampa district really remember that fight.  Looking at the precincts will give us a better picture, but it could be that his base wasn’t New Tampa.

6.  Randy Baron – the most intelligent and capable candidate in his race – received the endorsements of both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times.  He finished dead last. (Sidebar: Don’t worry Randy, I finished dead last in my primary, too. It’s not so bad).  I hope he runs for office again, regardless of party affiliation.  Smart people need to run for office — usually a smart “strategery.”

7.  The City of Tampa needs to move the election to November.  I never understand why cities in Florida have elections at such odd times – heck, look at the slate of dates for the Pinellas County cities!  It’s not like the people care that much… so if you moved it to a more traditional date (even if it’s not held at the same time as other elections) you would increase turnout.  Heck, I would even propose that the Legislature should dictate all elections should be held on the same dates state-wide… the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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9 Responses to Seven Thoughts About the City of Tampa Elections

  1. voxpopuli says:

    Okay, I have more to say — but jocularly — do you think those 17 extra votes are all Kuhn employees? hehe.
    This is a good article — I’ll be back later.

  2. voxpopuli says:

    oh — perkins? He’s funny and has a big fan club through that, I think. I kinda assume that from watching him interact with others at public access. I did not realize that was the same guy. no connect but I DO remember the big thow down twixt he and ronda. Ronda making criminals out of young men and women who have sex, as I type….

  3. Looking at who won, and who is a run off if I was wanting someone who would be able to equal the balance of power on City Council I would vote for Joe Redner over Gewn Miller.

    Mark
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Brandon_Gay_Pride/
    http://www.unbanned.org/
    http://www.myspace.com/brandon_pride

  4. Vinny Tafuro says:

    Good points made on the elections and I especially agree with the first point. With all the focus (and money) that is going to be needed to get New Tampa residents a toll road to I 275 it is amazing how few of them take part in elections. Unless they were not able to make it to the poles due to traffic?

  5. I doubt Redner has the temperment for government. His history with noise makers and thrown chairs is not reassuring. Gwen Miller’s problem is that the base hated her. Many will vote for Redner in spite or stay home.

    How about Tampa’s leading lefty and conservative blogger calling it for Shawn Harrison. God, those guys are such no nothing idiots. Fortunately, we got it RIGHT!

    I remember White Chocolate. The whole Ronda filing a complaint to Mark Ober because a sock puppet wanted to perform a sex act on her. (I never found out what that act was.) That has to be the dumbest thing Storms was ever involved in. That’s saying a lot.

    Jim, I’m waiting to see when you run a campaign against Mitch Kates. In the kindest way possible; I think we know who I will be rooting for.

    Are you getting as bored as I am of seeing the slow death march of Kelly Benjamin in Tampa politics? It really is embarrassing.

  6. Mr. Bill says:

    From what I have been told, White Chocolate Perkins spent his time doing the old fashioned thing – knocking on a lot of doors and talking to voters.

    Nothing like meeting and actually talking with a candidate.

    Do you really think making Tampa City campaigns partisan is where we want to go ? I don’t. Why can’t you meet a candidate and evaluate it for yourself ? No party label, no yardsigns, no editorial endorsements. What a novel idea, huh ?

  7. So Tom Scott, and Charles Miranda won there districts. I believe if Joe gets elected over Gwen in the run off I bet that Joe would rattle both there nerves. Tom Scott voted in favor of the Gay Pride ban and left the room at County Commissions meetings whenever Joe spoke. And I know that Charles Miranda can not stand Joe for his strip clubs ie..the 6 foot rule. God I hope Joe wins! I love drama.

  8. Do you really think making Tampa City campaigns partisan is where we want to go ? I don’t.

    Sounds like Mr. Sharpe is channeling his inner-third way Democrat. These races are already partisan. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    From what I have been told, White Chocolate Perkins spent his time doing the old fashioned thing – knocking on a lot of doors and talking to voters.

    And he still lost. Signs and direct mailing help people know a candidate. Knocking on doors are not going to do much in an off-year election. Bill, you don’t work in politics anymore. I’m all for candidates meeting the people, but that by itself is not enough.

    What interested me was how poorly candidates used the internet. Tampa is still old school back door dealing with pleasing the party establishments. I’m convince what helped Alex Sink win was her Youtube videos. Her race with Tom Lee was rather close. Take Youtube out of the equation and Lee may win Lee had his problems. He is a horrible fundraiser and he still came in close.

  9. Michael Hussey Says:
    March 7th, 2007 at 11:35 pm
    “I doubt Redner has the temperment for government. His history with noise makers and thrown chairs is not reassuring. Gwen Miller’s problem is that the base hated her. Many will vote for Redner in spite or stay home.”

    Well hopefully Michael they will not stay home. I believe that Joe will help the balance of power that has been been taking advantage by people such as Shaun Harrison, Tom Scott, Gwen Miller, Ronda Storms, Jim Norman, Ken Hagan, and Charles Miranda. If our city is to ever move forward as far as progress goes then we need someone that can challenge others. Joe is that person and that is why we need to go to polls when it comes to a re-vote between Joe and Gwen.
    Watch this clip and you see what I mean
    http://www.joerednerthemovie.com/

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