Sunday, August 05, 2012

11th Hour campaigning

It's about 36 hours before the polls open up here for the August primary. About 70% of the vote will be Tuesday. The actual election has been going on for over a month. Absentees have come in as early as late June and most were sent out in that week long period from last June to early July. If a candidate neglected that, then it's an unforced error that could be very costly. Mitt Romney won 50% of the delegates here (the extra was a gift by leadership to spike the football) because he won big with absentees.

Some candidates are hitting the doors. I know Cindy Denby, Sally Reynolds, Tom Ash, and Dale Rogers are all hitting doors. It's a good thing to do if you want to win. Ask Joe Hune who used that strategy to win in 2002 and to make a what some thought was going to be a competitive race turn into a 75-25 blowout, only losing one precinct. Hoekstra and Durant are making last minute rounds.

While finishing strong is important, campaigns are marathons, and don't forget the AV's. Possibly the best campaign I've ever seen was Joe Hune's 2010 campaign, with his 2002 campaign (considering his resources) right there besides it. That's not a knock on the others. Cindy Denby (who was a major part of Joe's 2002 campaign) is another strong campaigner often overlooked due to her soft-spoken demeanor. Joe took his 2010 opponent seriously, had a top level plan, controlled what he was able to control, didn't try to be what he wasn't, and followed through on his plan. It wasn't a complicated plan, but covered all the major essentials of a Livingston County election.

I don't know what to expect Tuesday. I think some incumbents are in major league danger largely due to lack of campaigning. Ron Van Houten and Jim Mantey are good county commissioners, but they aren't good campaigners. I don't know if they are going to be caught looking or feel like they don't have to campaign. I think other incumbents are in trouble for shenanigans, like in Genoa Township. Todd Smith and Gary McCririe need to go. Gary survived in the past because his opposition wern't strong campaigners. Kevin Spicher is a stronger candidate than previous opposition. Linda Rowell and Keli Woodall are stronger candidates for trustee than in the past as well. Maybe Smith gets knocked out too, although four people will win.

For sheriff, I think Bezotte will hang on, partly due to self-destructive attacks from Tom Ash. Ash alienated people with this, his speech at the Brighton Tea Party, and the latest thing that was all over the papers. I don't like technicality games that get played, especially by law enforcement. Maier I though would have had a good chance if he was more visible. He had an opening, but I don't think he took advantage of it.

I have no idea how prosecutor is going to go. I think all three have a shot. I'm keeping my choice quiet here. I've known two candidates for 8 years, and have close friends heavily backing the other. This is a nasty race with a lot of hard feelings involved.

For Register of Deeds and Treasurer, I see a bit of a culture clash here. Unfortunately for Register of Deeds, one of the candidates has to lose. Carole Bullion has really impressed me on the campaign trail. Sally's done a good job and I've known her for years and can't justify firing her. If Sally wins, I hope Carole stays active and considers a run four years later if it is an open seat. For treasurer, I'm backing Brian Wutz over Jennifer Nash. Nash is a quasi-incumbent appointed by the board and picked by Dianne Hardy when she retired. I'm not a fan of when officials retire with a month left so their picks have a head up. It's common, but it doesn't mean I like it. Nash is a nice lady and would be a status quo on par likely with what Dianne's done in the past, but I like Brian's background as a tax attorney and his ideas. His degrees are in this field. He's a detailed oriented guy who would do a real good job there. I think the money can be invested wiser, and the tax auctions can be run at home better than by Lansing, like many other counties do things. I have a problem with $20 million in a single checking account, especially if FDIC limits are only unlimited temporarily until 12/31/2012.

Lastly, the clerk's race has been relatively uneventful. Margaret Dunleavy should win. She usually runs the best among our county officials, and for good reason. Margaret's done a great job and has a great staff in the office. I work with the election's office all the time, and Joan and Arlene do great work there, and it's not the easiest area with the laws and responsibilities on that department. They also got my CPL license quickly as well. Margaret's probably the most entrenched county official despite, and that's because people like her and the way she runs her office.

It'll be interesting to see what happens last minute, including on election day.

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