Election Reflection

Well, I have been through all the phases one goes through when you are on the losing end of any big contest. Surprise, sad, disbelief, mad and now pretty much back to normal. I’ve had some time now to reflect on the outcome of the recent election and one can only assume the majority of those who bothered to vote wanted someone with, how shall I say it, far different moral and ethical standards than I could offer. Given the final vote tally they sure didn’t want someone who would make changes.

As I have gone over the numbers, as those of you who know me know I enjoy doing, I have come to two conclusions. Either the numbers are wrong or the voters just don’t care what goes on in local government. Now just humor me. As one of the losing candidates I can take certain liberties to make me feel better about the outcome of the election.

Starting at the Crossroads think about this. After four years of what I consider was working my tail off to represent the district, I garnered a whopping 357 votes out of 805. This after knocking on literally hundreds of doors and living here my entire life. And don’t forget about seventeen years of volunteer service at the Ruritan Park. Over at the Browder precinct which is a part of the fifth district, my home district, things were even worse. I picked up 85 of the three hundred votes cast on election day. Over in the sixth district at Highland Park, things were just as bad.. The two districts I felt would surely carry me to certain victory didn’t hardly pan out. The rest of the county went pretty much the same way. In all fairness one of my opponents did stick up a few yard signs and a couple of billboards and the other one put up a lot of yard signs, billboards and even commercials.

The Village was going to be my big surprise to everybody. I was going to send shockwaves through the Loudon County political world by maybe even taking the district. After all I had knocked on over 1200 doors in the village alone and by all accounts had done pretty well at candidates night at the yacht club. I had supported the red light for the village, the widening of Irene Lane for the church, the open burning ban so strongly supported by the villagers and every thing else proposed for the village. After all that I really thought I was going to do good. Wrong. 648 votes cast, I grabbed an astounding 75 votes. How about that.

Then there are the machine count oddities. Back out at Eatons as I had reported before I got 375 votes. Surprisingly Mr. Cook also received 375 votes. What are the odds of that? But it gets better. On one of the four voting machines I received 119 votes. On the same machine Mr. Cook also received 119 votes. Spooky huh? There was the call I received on election day of a machine in the village that allegedly wouldn’t take votes for me. I have no idea if this was true.

Then there is this curiosity in the Highway Superintendent's race with a democrat and a republican candidate running in their respective primaries, 2673 people went into the polls but didn’t bother to vote for either candidate. In the Judges race 2778 no votes, Register of Deeds, 2492 no votes. Circuit Court Clerk, 2352 no votes. County Court Clerk, 2053 no votes. Trustee’s race 2028 no votes. Compared to the 2002 primary, that’s about triple the number of no votes. That’s a lot of no votes.

Given all this, is it any wonder I might question the reality of the numbers? Could it be possible that that many of the friends and family in the fifth district had abandoned me? These being the same people who voted me onto commission just four years ago over five other candidates even defeating a sixteen year incumbent. Surely not. The numbers just can't be right.

Realistically, the more practical answer is that all machines worked just fine and that all the anomalies above are simple coincidences and nothing more. That would mean only one thing, I must not be as great of a guy as my mother always told me I was. It would also indicate that I must not have done as good of a job on commission as I thought I had. If you think about it, in my four years on commission I have managed to make a lot of people not like me. There’s the education people who were angered that I would not support their massive budget request. And of course the developers whom I have refused to lay down for and just let them destroy every inch of our county. Then there is the Lenoir City government whom I fought tooth and nail to prevent their forced annexation of hundreds of county residents. Special interests groups, meaning those organizations and individuals who have their hands stuck deep in the tax payers pockets just sucking off all the money they can for their own benefit. And there are many others whom I have exposed for using the county coffers for their own personal self interests. I have rubbed a lot of fur the wrong way.

Four years ago a long time politician told me ”Podge, if you want to be in politics, you’ve got to learn to play the game.” I guess I just couldn’t play the game. Actually I just never saw it as a game. I will never sacrifice my beliefs and convictions for political gain.

At least two political myths have been dispelled in this election. It was always said the man who works the hardest will win the election. Myth busted. The other was that the man who spends the most money has the best chance of winning. Myth busted. Apparently all you have to do is put out a few yard signs a couple of billboards and wallah, you can win big.

The election has come and gone. The people have spoken. The votes have been counted and life goes right on along. I’ve enjoyed my time serving as a public official.

To those of you who supported me, I send you my heartfelt appreciation. For those of you who did not, oh well.

Let me say again, We've all heard the old saying, "you get what you pay for." Well, here’s another saying you can count on, " you get what you vote for."