Democracy Survives Another Election

Some musings from election day — and night:

*Voting was a seamless exercise locally. As well it should have been; it needn’t be hard. But still, well done, Pam Iorio and staff — and polls apart from the performances turned in by Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Here in Hillsborough, poll workers were ready and well trained. Voter education proved more than ample. Should be no different in November, even with a bigger turnout. Touch (screen) of class goes a long way.

*What to say about South Florida ? Bad enough that it persists in comporting itself as a sovereign state, but must it be that of a banana republic? Should Jimmy Carter be sent in next time to monitor? More material for Jay Leno, David Letterman and Fidel Castro.

*And more disenfranchisement fodder for caustic U.S. Civil Rights Commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry. She justifiably condemned the condemnable and then heaped criticism on the U.S. Justice Department and “state officials.” But what about (black) Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant , the Peter Principle princess of Broward County?

*No one, of course, was more disappointed in Mimi Osiason’s County Commission District 1 showing than Mimi Osiason . But a close second had to be John Dingfelder . His most viable scenario for winning was for Osiason and Kathy Castor to cancel each other out, enabling well-regarded, lone-male Dingfelder to slip by with a modest plurality. It never came close to happening with Osiason failing to break into double-figure percentage.

*At his election party at Pipo’s on Davis Islands, Dingfelder acknowledged the uphill race against name recognition and how the campaign had to “go to the mattresses” at the end. Literally. With a brother in from Philadelphia, a best friend in from Seattle, plus parents and grown kids briefly returning to the nest, the Dingfelder house was awash in ad hoc bedding.

*Speaking of District 1 , it was obviously top-heavy with quality Democratic candidates. Too bad one or more couldn’t have been parceled out elsewhere for an infusion of sorely needed, progressive, non-confrontational, new blood.

*At Castor’s Cactus Club campaign party, Castor’s husband Bill Lewis was the conduit for election updates. At each juncture, Lewis referenced the candidates as “Kathy,” “John,” and “Mimi.” It’s not a big deal, but symbolically reflective of the civility and respect that uniquely characterized this race. Doubt if there were comparable “Jim-and-Stacey Lynn” or “Ronda-and-Arlene” scenarios. Moreover, Dingfelder wasted no time in making a contribution — $100 — to the Castor Campaign. The combination of District 1 candidate chemistry and sense of party unity should bode well for Castor against Chris Hart .

*When asked who was most nervous about the District 1 race, mom-of-the-candidate-and-Democratic-icon Betty Castor didn’t miss a beat — and nodded at Lewis. No wonder he was kept so busy.

*What happened to all those seething, anti-Storms Democrats who had a golden opportunity (with the universal primary) to rid the county commission of Tropical Storm Ronda? Thanks for nothing.

* “Victory parties” are unique gatherings. Starting with the premise that there might not even be a “victory.” It’s an eclectic gathering of family, friends, campaign workers, party activists, minor luminaries, VIPols and political groupies. One or more bars and televisions are de rigueur .

A dynamic of back-slapping and glad-handing

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