An odd endorsement for Finegan
We start off this busy week of early voting with a head scratcher in County Commission District 2.
You may remember Paul Grogan, the no-party affiliate candidate whose entry into the race closed the primary to Republicans. Not only did that cut half the voting public out of the real race between Diana Finegan and Stacey Worthington, it was done so in a clearly cynical way to block non-Republicans, a move that theoretically favors Finegan.
Grogan entered the race despite openly promoting Finegan’s campaign on his own Facebook page. It seemed like a setup from the start.
Sunday morning, I left church to find text messages with screenshots of Finegan’s Facebook page, where Grogan had commented on a photo of Finegan standing in front of a campaign trailer at an early-vote site.
This is what he said:
“I think the trailer idea was the best one! Your signage is top notch!!
PS I hope (and pray) you win the primaries.”
Did Grogan, a potential opponent, just come right out and endorse a candidate in the Republican primary? That’s what it sure looks like to me.
Seeing that comment immediately raised a suspicion that Grogan would drop out of the race should Finegan win the primary. We had a lengthy text chat back and forth about it and he would never directly answer my question, which was:
“Are you dropping out if Diana wins the primary?”
Pretty straight forward, as you can see.
Rather than answer with a yes or no, he would say only that he told the “CCBA” he’s in the race ‘til November.
I was still mulling over Grogan's bizarre Finegan comment when someone alerted me that both candidate and supporter/potential opponent had the following exchange Sunday on her campaign Facebook page:
Finegan, responding to Grogan’s comment of support: “Wow Paul! I’ve never met an opponent like you. Lol
Thank you for your kindness and prayers. I’m sure our race will be much nicer than the one I’m currently in.”
Grogan: “Together we (all of us) can lead a community together besides we all shop at the same grocery stores. Best wishes on the primary…when it’s over get your boxing gloves ready.”
Oh, please. I was born at night but not last night.
I want to make something clear from the outset. While the harebrained idea behind getting Grogan in the race was to increase Finegan’s chances to win, I’m not suggesting she had anything to do with it. That said, she’s playing along as if this is an actual, you know, contested race, when it has every appearance of a sham.
Finegan’s response nails it. Of COURSE her next race will be easier than this one because her … cough, cough … opponent is already locked in line with her. Campaigns are a lot more fun for candidates when everyone agrees with them. It’s the public that gets ripped on that deal.
This sideshow detracts from what’s been a decent contest between two women working hard to win. Both Finegan and Worthington are engaged in the process, that’s clear to see.
Grogan’s “get your boxing gloves ready” remark to Finegan is odd considering he’s also “praying” for her to win the primary. I mean…are we fools?
One thing I’ll say a Grogan campaign does, is it extends the primary winner’s election season to November. Considering both Finegan and Worthington are new to the political stage, another two months to dive into some issues isn’t a terrible thing before one or the other takes office.
But to dress up this potential Finegan vs. Grogan race as real, when it’s really just a cheap imitation?
Two words, candidates: Not appreciated.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.