- Local News
--By David W. Richard on --
Well, the 2012 primary is behind us, and the run-off looms large in just three weeks. Some mixed results from a personal perspective, as well as from a campaign observer looking for an overriding theme.
First things first, I’m surprised at the level of distrust shown for our GADOT and elected officials regarding TSPLOST across the state, but not in Forsyth County. SPLOSTs have been losing support here for many years, and our recent special election extending SPLOST VII engendered so much ill-will amongst Forsyth County voters that I believe translated into a huge defeat this week. That our Chamber of Commerce came out so heavily and vocally for this is another sign that they are out of touch with the county in which they operate.
On a side note, how would you be feeling in those three regions that approved TSPLOST this morning, knowing you were now the only areas which are going to be charged an extra penny tax on everything, while your neighbors are not? Oops!
Negative campaigning still largely works. Political novice Steve Voshall came within a hair’s width of beating incumbent State Senator Jack Murphy. No one has come this close to unseating this entrenched politician before, and while Murphy’s unattractiveness to voters is at an all-time high due to his banking issues, Voshall’s campaign was almost brutal enough to pull this one out.
While negative campaigning still works in some cases, anonymous attack flyers clearly do not. I still believe that Jim Boff would have won his race this week, but I think that the flood of anonymous attack flyers so close to Election Day drove John Derucki’s numbers way, way down. The flyer in District 4 going after Cindy Mills didn’t seem to have any effect whatsoever. If there had been one less candidate in that race, we would likely not be looking at a run-off in three weeks.
Patrick Bell is about to be voted out of office. When your combined opposition tallies 72% of the vote in your own district, and the person who ran a positive campaign almost won outright in a five-person race, you’re just not liked at all by the people you supposedly represent. No tears shed here.
Brian Tam’s re-election proves that you can still buy votes with the people’s money, even if you never stand for anything BUT buying votes with the people’s money. I don’t think he’s happy with Jim Boff’s re-election, either, as Tam’s chances of returning to the chairman’s seat are pretty much zero now.
Did you get the feeling that no one really voted “for” a candidate in the Sheriff’s race, but “against” everybody else running? I like Lauren MacDonald personally, and would have voted for him had I not been called out of town unexpectedly on the Saturday before the election, but my vote would have been more because I couldn’t make myself vote for either Ted Paxton or Duane Piper, not because I thought Lauren would have been the best sheriff since Andy Taylor.
There are going to be three very ugly run-off races in the next three weeks; the Collins / Zoller Congressional race was ugly before this, and it’s only going to degenerate further. The Paxton / Piper race will escalate into mutually-assured destruction. Bell will go hugely negative (it doesn’t take a seer to figure this one out), but Mills will keep it positive on her side.
Finally, the effect of the new social media in elections is still largely to be written, but one thing is for certain; false claims and erroneous information can be quickly and effectively debunked via Facebook and Twitter without the need to expend cash, and appears to be able to defuse the effects of last-minute negative flyers that traditionally had no way of being answered in the last 48 hours before an election. It appears that some campaigns used it effectively, while others just don’t get it yet. In a close race, knowing how to use it could be the difference between a win and a loss.