And then there’s Primary Election Day.
I’m sure you’re as tired of reading about it as I am of writing about it. We’re all ready to get it over with, congratulate the winners, commiserate with the non-winners, and move on with our lives for at least a week before the general election talk starts.
So of course I have some observations:
— Almost every year, on Election Day, someone would call the newsroom in the late afternoon to ask if we have any early results.
Um, yeah, I can’t make this any clearer: Votes are not counted until AFTER the polls close.
— I’ll be at the Citrus County Supervisor of Elections office this evening, possibly experimenting with a Facebook Live event, so watch for that. Regardless, the Just Wright Citrus Facebook page will have results soon as I get them.
The photo from today’s blog is one of my favorites. It was — as it turns out — the last election for both Susan Gill as elections supervisor and me as Chronicle senior reporter. From the looks of it, Susan is explaining some oddity in the voter percentages and I’m confused, as usual.
I’ve spent many a Primary/Election Night camped out in the supervisor of elections office.
I know the elections office in downtown Meadowcrest is more efficient, but it just sucks the air out of tradition.
Anyone who’s lived in these parts the last 40 years remember election nights on the Courthouse Square in the county seat.
All the political junkies hung out either in the cramped election office or on the sidewalk as (in those days) precinct results trickled in.
Candidates would show up confident at 7 p.m. Many slink away 30 minutes later when the vote by mail/early votes are tallied and we get an idea of how the night’s going to go.
Thankfully, I’m not chasing down unsuccessful candidates for quotes anymore. Worst part of Primary Election Night coverage was interviewing candidates who just saw nine months of hard work result in a third-place finish. It’s not a happy time and sometimes their responses reveal deep bitterness.
Others, well, it’s hard to beat the arrogance of an overconfident candidate.
Look, we all want candidates to be confident of victory, right? I don’t ever recall a candidate predicting a loss on Election Day.
But there’s a difference between confidence and unrealistic. And there are those who have been unrealistic, never even considering the POSSIBILITY of losing.
One night in the elections office I overheard two volunteers in a candidate’s campaign wondering if they could get the deposit back. The candidate, who lost, had booked a victory cruise.
Incumbents generally don’t start the night at the elections office but they wander in, victor-like, after it was obvious they were going to win.
So it was interesting a few years back when an incumbent, in a tough re-election race, showed up at the elections office before the first results were announced. Once the early numbers were in, right away we knew it wasn’t going to be the incumbent’s night.
To his credit, he hung around most of the night even as report after report cemented his pending defeat.
And when I asked him for a comment, he gave me one of the greatest Primary Election Night quotes ever:
“You’re going to go to hell. You will rot in hell.”
(That former incumbent is now a Just Wright Citrus sponsor. Goes to show that wounds heal.)
— I reached out to all five county commission candidates on Monday (one actually called me before I could make my first call) to wish them luck Tuesday.
We should be proud of all five. I set a high bar for this summer’s campaign season and the candidates met it. They discussed challenges in our community, ways to address them, and debated various approaches to getting there.
Each candidate has worked hard for his or her vote and deserves whatever result Election Day brings.
By day’s end we’ll have a new county commissioner, a new judge and a state representative who may or may not be new.
It’s Primary Election Day. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The time to choose is now.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.