Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So, Will Anyone Run Against Steve Wukela Or Not?

Mayor Hickory Head Is Checking His Back For Knives, But It's Still Clear - At Least For Now It Is!

     We're going to stick our nose into unfamiliar territory here for a minute, and discuss something we rarely talk about - Democratic Politics.  Particularly, Florence City Democratic politics..  Now of course, if you want the real skinny on what's going on in Florence Proper, you need to read P-Luv's blog.. However, we'll give it a little shot here, and we're sure he will add his two cents here...

     Florence City Council is a lot different than it was 4 years ago at this time... Frank Willis was Mayor, and council had 4 different members than it has today.  We had heard rumblings about finding someone to run against Willis (mainly from the Dem side), and it finally happened in the form of Stephen Wukela.  We all know about his stunning 1 vote win, and the subsequent legal battles which upheld them (no surprise, after all, Wukela IS an attorney)..

    Council changed again in 2010, with Glynn Willis joining council after a close loss in 2008, and Teresa Ervin beating Billy D. Williams... To us, it seemed like City Council had a group of people that could really work together to fix Florence' problems, with the noteable exception of Ed Robinson.. In December, Robinson decided to take on Wukela for the Mayor's spot... and that's kind of where he's been since.

    We're in that magic two week period where we wait for these candidacies to become official - and apparently, we're not the only ones!  We're about midway through the filing period, and no one has officially entered the battle for Wukela's seat, and for good reason.  Wukela has amassed a pretty tight grip both financially and supportwise.  Last year's fundraiser that featured a slew of normally GOP-leaning boosters set the bar, and he's pretty much gone from there. So, if in the end, no one runs against Wukela, we would not be surprised.  But, they're out there waiting....

     Now we all know Ed Robinson is out there... But, saying you will run, then forking over the cash and running are two different things.  From what we remember, Robinson's seat is not up this year, but he really has no shot at winning.  Robinson wins his seat with the same 400-500 voters who follow him blindly, but the rest of the city gives him little to no support.  A 75-80% win by Wukela would not surprise us in the least.. Now for the real wild card: Steve Powers.

   For a while now, Powers has hemmed and hawed a bit about running for Mayor.  A first termer who was swept into the seat with Barack Obama's election in 2008, Powers had whispers that he might be 100% blue, and it certainly is repeating this year.  He has not announced anything, but has to in the next week, right?  The first question is will Powers run at all, and the second is will he run as a Democrat or Republican? 

   The first seems to be dependent on whether Robinson runs.  If Ed Robinson decides to take on Wukela, the guess is that Powers will enter the race as a Republican. The theory is that Robinson might beat Wukela in the Primary, and then Powers could take on Robinson in an easy general election in November...  If Robinson stays out, so will Powers.  Basically, Powers is saying he wants no part of Stephen Wukela - but he would likely get him anyway.

   If this is Powers' strategy, he better hope Robinson stays out. Like we said, Wukela will pound Robinson handily in June, thus leaving the Powers-Wukela race in November.  Then Wukela will be the incumbent Democrat with bi-partisan support, with Powers playing the underfunded challenger who no longer has a party.  Changing parties is like ripping off a Band-Aid: if you're gonna pull it, pull it off quick, and shorten the pain... Powers has been doing the dance for months now, and if he switches at this point, he will be a man without a party - and without a base... He'll be a Dem traitor, and a GOP user.

    Yeah, we've talked plenty of times about the blurry political lines in Flotown.  The Dem is really a Republican who can't win in that party, and the Republican was a Democrat since 1965 - til his district turned red... It happens on occasion, but there was only one guy I ever saw at a GOP event before he changed parties, and that was Kenney Boone.  It's a bit of a hypocracy within the local party in that they attack candidates they don't like for it, then do it themselves.  Once a Democrat, always a Dem, I thought...

   If we were Steve Powers, we would focus less on the chatter telling him he can beat Stephen Wukela this year, and focus more on being more of a team player in City Council if he makes a second term.  The fact is Mayor Hickory Head looks pretty unstoppable this year. He came in with a limited agenda, and did what he said he would do, without taxes going through the roof.  Hence, the bipartisan support from the Flotown Money Machine... If a true Republican wants to run, fine with me, but it doesn't appear to be coming. 2008 was the year we should have had a candidate, but we passed.  This isn't our year to throw anyone on the ballot...


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