Friday, November 17, 2017

Kriseman VS Baker an Epilog

Ignored by both campaigns were the Hispanic voters and the growing Asian population.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Most of the post mortems on this race are in, and I think they all have it about right.

Here are two that capture the essence of the race.

Tampa Bay Times Adam C. Smith: 8 takeaways from the St. Pete mayor’s race

Florida Politics, Peter Schorsch, Would five words have save Rick Baker’s campaign?

I would only add a few of things.

I have known and worked for Rick Baker for a long time. You can go to my Blog Bay Post Internet put Rick Baker in the search box and see a number of posts.

What struck me most from the beginning was Rick Baker did not seem to be as excited about this race as two previous ones. He said all the right words, even worked up some emotion, but it seemed to me the real fire was just not there.

To capture it in a sentence it felt like it was more about getting Kriseman out of the Mayor’s office than Baker getting the job.

Second, I think the Baker campaign was strategically misfocused. Baker’s campaign put high emphasis in South St. Pete, I guess the assumption was the rest of the City’s Republicans would just come along. There were almost no rallies in West St. Pete and same for the Northeast.

When I spoke with the Baker campaign about this the response was “We don’t see a problem.” Perhaps they do now.

Also ignored by both campaigns were the Hispanic voters and the growing Asian population. Both of these groups have a strong entrepreneurial focus, and many are small-business owners in St. Petersburg. They have an interest in their communities, neighborhoods and schools.

Hispanics represent about 6.7% of the St. Petersburg population, and Asians represent about 3.3% of the population. A strong multi lingual message to both groups along with a voter-registration effort might just have turned the election.

Then, there is the issue of money. Every mailer, ad, phone call was an impassioned plea for donations even as the media reported massive amounts of money flowing into both campaigns from the outside.

I think the constant bleating for donations was major turn off too many voters and especially the millennials that may be registered voters but might not have the money to make a donation.

If they did not donate or vote, everyone lost.

Finally, there is the issue of Trump. A lot of people, especially Republicans, would like to hang this totally around Trump’s neck.

No doubt there is a cause and effect from the Trump Presidency, but I think there may be a bigger issue with the Republican Party and the elected Republicans in the US House and Senate that spend more time fighting with Trump in the media, and in Congress than they do working to solve the problems they so easily define.

We will know the answer to that issue in the 2018 midterms. I am not betting any money on Republican incumbents.

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