At least temporarily.
As a Republican ‘Supervoter’, that is, one who has voted in every election to come down the pike I think since I was first eligible in 1976, in the 8th Florida Senate District, we have been inundated by campaign advertising. Not a day goes by that something political doesn’t come in the mail, the phone has rung incessantly, and the DVR makes television watchable. My choice is made, I voted early, and so now it’s just more noise in the background.
But this special election is only the beginning.
It won’t be long before the 2010 campaign season begins in earnest, and consider the number of races to be decided. At the federal level, there will be a dogfight for the senate seat now being kept warm by George LeMieux (who?). On the Republican side, the battle lines are being drawn between soon-to-be-former-Governor Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, former speaker of the Florida House. There are tons of others, of course, but those are the two name people will recognize. The two recognizable names on the “D” side of the ledger are Kendrick Meek and Corrine Brown, but in all, 20 candidates are listed as “active” by the Secretary of State’s Office to run for U.S. Senator.
There are 13 candidates for Governor, the best-known among them being Bill McCollum (R) and Alex Sink (D).
Every member of Congress runs again in 2010, so we’ll have candidates for at least 3 races buying TV time and sending mail in this area.
And then there are the normal State Legislative elections. This 8th District race would have been 2010, and will have to be decided again next year on the regular election cycle.
Which rolls right into the 2011 local election season, with the first unitary balloting in March.
The only reason I mention this, other than I love the process, is that a recent ruling in federal court allows 527’s to put off reporting its contributors until well after the election. You know what those are. They’re organizations that can raise and spend unlimited money on an election with (for now) no real accountability until after the fact. The ads are rarely positive, and there will be literally thousands of them.
Advertising is not a bad thing. Some of it is very creative and gets its message across. Even political advertising is not inherently bad. It’s how most people even learn a candidate’s name, which is unfortunate but a fact of political life. Particularly in a short season like this campaign, not all voters will have a chance to attend a forum or meet all the candidates face to face, which is really the only way to effectively judge a candidate. I appreciate informative advertising pieces or TV commercials that tell me something about the candidate and his or her positions. But for the next 18 months, mailboxes will be crammed with campaign literature, radio and television will be flooded with ads, and my phone will ring and ring and ring … and at least half of it will try to convince me why I SHOULDN’T vote for one candidate or the other, and portray him or her in the least flattering light possible. But (and I may be the only one) that kind of advertising simply does not make me want to vote for the person who bought it, or whom it supports.
If there’s an up side to all that, it’s that there will hopefully be some jobs created in the agencies that create all that advertising material, and maybe I can get a little work out of the deal.
But even the candidates acknowledge that it does get to be a bit much after a while. When the postman handed Andie the mail today, he said “here’s your daily dose of political stuff … just ‘til Tuesday.” But I’m thinking that he’s probably glad he’s driving a truck and not walking a route, because if he was carrying all that stuff, he’d need to be at the gym building up his arm strength for what’s to come. What those of us in Florida’s 8th senate district have experienced these past 6 weeks is just the tip of the iceberg, and I think a major floe is about to be calved.