Something I forgot to mention in last week’s excitement:
The publisher of your favorite blog is now a Republican.
I did it the day after the Chronicle forum. I was just so mesmerized by Paul Reinhardt’s logic for the state Legislature that I couldn’t wait another day to switch sides.
I jest, of course.
The real reason is both personal and professional.
I’ve been a temporary Republican before. Twice, if I remember correctly. Both times for the same reason I’m switching now: Someone blocked a county primary by inexplicably getting into the race as an NPA, which is what happened this year in District 2.
If I want a vote in the real election between Republicans Diana Finegan and Stacey Worthington, I need to be registered Republican. Hence, the switch from Democrat.
What’s different this year is the timing. I normally wait right up to the deadline to change my voter registration. But those were years working in a newsroom where my Republican colleagues would bring me the mail pieces they received from candidates.
Just Wright Citrus is a newsroom of one. If I want to see what the Republican candidates are sending out, I need to join the Grand Old Party to get on their mailing list now.
So, while the purpose for switching is for me to vote in the blocked Republican District 2 primary, I’m going to enjoy this little visit. Look for some semi-snarky Republican blogs between now and Aug. 23, but let’s first talk about why we’re forced to switch in the first place.
Newcomers from other states generally dislike Florida primaries because they’re “closed” — registered Democrats vote Democrat, (we) registered Republicans vote Republican and that’s the end of that. (Nonpartisan races are open to all voters.)
As registration changed over time to include more no-party affiliation voters, the primaries became patently unfair to many people. If there were only Republicans in a county commission race, and I’m not a Republican, I don’t get a vote.
In 1998, voters changed the state Constitution to allow for open primaries when all the candidates in a race are of the same political party.
This year’s County Commission District 4 is a good example. Three candidates, all Republican. The Aug. 23 primary winner is elected. Prior to the constitutional change, the only people who could vote in that primary were registered Republicans. Now it’s open to all registered voters.
That’s not the case in District 2. Two Republicans, and an NPA who doesn’t live in the district and has all the markings of a “ghost” candidate — someone whose very candidacy exists only to block non-Republicans from voting in the primary.
You may say, “Geez, that’s stupid. What’s the logic behind that move?”
In my brief Republicanism, I can say with certainty that this is a team that likes to win no matter what. Democrats tend to hem and haw about things. (We) Republicans, it’s win baby and ask questions later.
(We) Republicans believe the best Republicans are conservative Republicans. The more conservative the better. So some of my fellow Republicans believe blocking the primary from (ugh) Democrats and other unknowns help their ultra conservative candidates.
In District 2, that would be Finegan, who we know has pleased Citrus County’s far right by embracing the Library Guy Gang and the stolen presidential election fantasy (Am I allowed to say that now? Better check my brand new GOP handbook).
So, will limiting the primary to (we) Republican voters help Finegan more than Worthington?
Unlikely. That strategy is rarely successful because the brains behind this scheme assume (we) Republican voters are idiots. We’re not, thank you very much, and will vote for the best person, be it Finegan or Worthington.
That’s the way (we) Republicans roll.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.