Of all the analyses of the local elections I've read so far, Joel Mielke's cartoon stands out - his commentary on the consequences of the triumph of an individual's ego and self interest over the common good is spot on, and needed to be said.
One thank you note was missing, though. The one from Lance Madsen to the out-of-touch Eureka "progressive" elite for his free pass. Their astonishing failure to grasp that every open seat needed to be contested and their presumption Glass and Kuhnel would be dominate candidates were products of overconfidence and a detachment from reality. Even the casual Eureka politics observers sensed many months ago that the conservatives were going to coordinate and cooperate like we haven't seen in the past, and indeed they brought their A-game.
The two conservative Eureka candidates who actually had to face an opponent ran well-organized and coordinated campaigns and did exactly what needed to be done to win -- they put together a strong grassroots team, defined the issues early on and delivered a disciplined, more compelling message that appealed to moderate voters, who clearly abandoned Glass. By comparison, the liberals gave us an amateur night performance that was a depressing joke. Ignore the fundamentals, run a relatively anemic and uninspiring campaign and you are surprised you're not competitive? Yeah, money helps, but only to a point. Next time around, I will hopefully be supporting liberal candidates who don't underestimate their opposition, don't confuse personal support with public support and are prepared and willing to make an extraordinary attempt to personally connect with voters -- in all five wards.
On top of my wish list? A group of dynamic activists who know how to do community organization will recognize and act on the need to level the playing field by converting to a true ward system of representation, thereby making it feasible for a candidate to work a full-time job and still be able to effectively run a competitive door-to-door campaign. Hopefully a measure will make it on to the next Eureka ballot that would do just that. And while we're at it, how about a second look at Instant Runoff Voting? Split votes should not be determining the outcome of elections simply because -- qualifications aside -- two candidates on one side of the political spectrum run against one on the opposite side.
Jud Ellinwood, Eureka