Log in Subscribe

Local Government This Week in Politics


The most confident prediction I made prior to Tuesday night's election was that the nation would go to sleep without knowing which candidate won the state of Florida. Even Ohio, a closely contested state whose polls close at 7:30 and has a history of electoral shenanigans on par with the Sunshine state, managed to get their results reported at a reasonable time Tuesday night. By noon Wednesday, it still wasn't official that the president had won our state, though all news outlets had reported the result in his favor.

Not surprisingly, our state added a controversial SOE right here in Manatee County. Michael Bennett, the guy who said – "I don't have a problem making it harder (to vote). I want the people in the state of Florida to want to vote as badly as that person in Africa who is willing to walk 200 miles for that opportunity he’s never had before in his life. This should not be easy” – won in a walk.

At least it didn't go to write-in candidate Rodney “Smokey” Smithley, a first-time candidate who made Bennett look progressive. Smithley said in a debate, “Since 9/11, we know that our country is not safe anymore, and I feel that we need to have something in place that is gonna stop this fraud. Mainstream America – to go in any government buildings we need to have ID's to go in there, so that the government knows who we are and that we're American citizens, and I'm letting the public know and Manatee County know that the (voting) fraud is running rampant in this country and in Florida, and we need to get it under control.”

Something tells me we'll be cursing Bob Sweat's retirement by 2016.


Most disappointing, however, was that big money once again prevailed in every race. There wasn't one case in which a candidate held a solid lead in money and did not easily win. It seems the further down the ballot a race goes, the easier it is to buy votes, no matter how much baggage a candidate has.

In the State Attorney Race, Ed Brodsky, the current incumbent's chief deputy, won in a landslide very similar to Bennett's in terms of both votes and money. This despite the fact that Brodsky's assistant was caught illegally accessing his opponent's record in the state DAVID database. It sure looked like she was looking for dirt on her boss's opponent. But her boss's office, who's conveniently charged with investigating such cases, decided it wasn't a big deal and settled it with no more than a verbal reprimand, then failed to notify Torraco that his record had been tapped, as law requires. Again, only in Florida.

The Manatee County School Board is in for an epic shake-up now that Dave “Watchdog” Miner is on the scene. A last minute ad-blitz funded by local developer SMR and its entities was not enough to sink the popular education activist who finally won a seat on the 5-member board as it heads into what very well could be its most important era ever. Miner's win flips the majority and appears to signal the end of an era in which the school board was little more than an expensive rubber stamp to the deeply entrenched administration. 

Democrat Elizabeth Warren's victory in the Massachusetts Senate race means that there will finally be a member of the chamber steeped in finance and economic policy. The Harvard professor should elevate the debate, while giving the chamber a strong weapon to use during Congressional inquiries on such subjects. For those of you unfamiliar with the gritty Midwesterner, check out the documentary Inside Job, where she is interviewed while serving as chair of the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel created to watchdog TARP, where she blew the whistle on matters involving foreclosure mitigation, consumer and small business lending, commercial real estate, AIG, and bank stress tests.

She's also the person the president plagiarized in his speech that featured the "you didn't build that" line, which Republicans took out of context to build their convention around. Check out the video below of Warren more eloquently making the case for the social compact long before President Obama ever started mentioning such things.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.