We had torrential rain all day yesterday, which undoubtedly depressed turnout in South Florida below the low levels ordinarily expected for unexciting primaries.
The results are interesting but hard to figure. In the process of losing the state, Rod Smith beat Jim Davis in supposedly liberal Miami-Dade — which certainly surprised me. Did Smith mis-allocate his resources? Or did his voters turn out while Davis’s stayed dry?
Katherine Harris won her state senatorial primary, which is just delightful. She was imploding so badly I was starting to worry she might lose to someone without her instinct for political suicide.
Despite a pretty one-sided ballot question, Miami-Dade voters again rejected a proposal to pay their commissioners a decent salary.
State Sen. Alex Villalobos overcame heavy campaigning by Gov. Jeb Bush to beat Frank Bolaños by a slim margin — the issue was Villalobos’s supposed ‘treachery’ in voting his district rather than following Jeb’s orders when Jeb made his final effort to gut Florida’s class-size amendment. Villalobos was the deciding vote and Bush was incandescent with anger. Jeb and his pals reportedly spent $2 million trying to punish Villalobos and it (just barely) didn’t work.
In my local school board race the incumbent beat off a far-right challenge. And nearby, one of the more complacent figures on the school board got forced into a run-off he’ll probably win.
In the judicial races there was a pretty decent result. There’s an odd phenomenon going on in South Florida judicial elections: in the past election or three, certain serving judges with strong records — the kind of people one might hope would cruise to retention unopposed — have been drawing opponents. In what seems to be crude ethnic politics, the judges drawing opponents are usually those with non-Hispanic names, and the challengers are frequently relatively inexperienced lawyers with Hispanic names. The hypothesis, not disproved by yesterday’s results but certainly not strengthened by it either, is that a substantial number of voters just go down the list looking for the Hispanic names. Indeed, a number of non-Hispanic female judges and candidates who happen to be married to Hispanic men have changed their names to hyphenated forms before running.
So how did we do? You can see how I voted. Not everybody I voted for won, but the results were not bad:
County Court Group 1: Patricia Marino-Pedraza;
County Court Group 4: Robin Faber;
County Court Group 9: Victoria Del Pino;
County Court Group 10: Ana Maria Pando;
County Court Group 11: Karen Mills Francis;
County Court Group 12: Steve Leifman;
County Court Group 14: Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer;
County Court Group 27: Shelly Schwartz;
County Court Group 39: Bronwyn Miller:
County Court Group 40: Don Cohn;
County Court Group 43: runoff between Michael Bienstock and Jose Fernandez;
Circuit Court Group 25: Dennis Murphy;
Circuit Court Group 42: Larry Schwartz:
Circuit Court Group 78: runoff between Valerie Manno-Schurr and Jose Sanchez-Gronlier;
Circuit Court Group 79: Tony Marin;
Circuit Court Group 80: runoff between Marisa Tinkler Mendez and Cathy Parks
Ivan Hernandez lost to Robin Faber, which is very good. But Ana Maria Pando crushed Sari Teichman Addicott — I wonder why?
Judges Shirlyon McWhorter, Mike Samuels, and Bonnie Rippingille were also defeated. But each of the new judges are people with solid credentials — and in the case of Don Cohn, super-solid credentials. Hispanic-named challengers with little experience managed to get a lot of votes in some cases (which I find a little worrying), but not enough.
Overall a messy result, but not bad for democracy.