I don't know how many of you followed the local County Executive race. Last week, Democrat Barry Grossman defeated Republican Mike Kerner. Grossman's winning was no surprise to most people-as he had much better name recognition going in and raised something like $100,000 in campaign funding compared to $3,000 for Kerner. The big surprise was the winning margin, which was less than 400 votes out of more than 50,000 cast.
To his credit, Grossman seemed less surprised than anybody over this narrow margin. He pretty much attributed it to people voting across party lines. And, from a quick Google, it appears that the 2005 County Executive race was decided by even a smaller margin.
However, you would think outspending your opponent 33-to-one (and I don't know if Barry used all his campaign money) would buy you some breathing room, but I think the whole Obama backlash thing really came back to hurt Grossman. Kerner cited voters' lack of support for County funding of a proposed community college (something which Barry is in favor of and Kerner is against) as a big factor in helping him get votes. He was probably right on this.
Also, I think people in general are sick of government spending following last year's multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages, that really don't seem to have helped the Erie County economy at all. I thought Kerner actually came off as a bit of teabagger/kook during the debate I watched, but apparently, more people are embracing that type of old-thyme Republican thinking. Heck, one guy got elected to County Council who reportedly owes $2 million in back taxes because he refuses to pay the government. He also wants to sell of the County library system.
Yeah, the political landscape is changing again. The Democrats were given their chance to turn things around with liberal policies and apparently the public has decided they've failed. Now, I think we really better start paying attention to the Libertarian crowd, because they seem to be gaining some steam.
I'm not saying this is good or bad, and I do support some of the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Libertarians bring to the table. I'm really just saying that we can all learn a lesson from Barry and be careful not to dismiss these teabaggers as kooks. Their views seem to hold some sway with the populace, especially in small town America.
From a personal standpoint, I promise not to make the same mistakes I made with G.W. Bush and Phil English, as dismiss them as unelectable.