Nov 5, 2008

Only negatives in historic election are local

I feel like I'm on a roller coaster ride, but it's heading up.

I went to bed just after midnight after Election Day elated that there is a President Obama, the ballot proposals I supported won and we increased our majority in the state House, but I was also disappointed that despite a great showing Democrats in Livingston County who worked so hard still do not have any local seats to show for it and the one candidate I supported by actually going door-to-door for, state Sen. Mark Schauer for the U.S. House, appeared to have lost. I blogged in support of many candidates, but he was the only one I expanded physical energy for.

But low and behold when I looked at Gongwer this morning my spirits soared. Not only did Schauer win, but Gary Peters is now Congressmen-elect Peters. Add to that a historic win by Judge Diane Marie Hathaway over incumbent rightwing activist judge Cliff Taylor. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon won both the recall election and re-electron. Now, maybe Leon Drolet will crawl back under the rock he came from, or better yet, he will be prosecuted for the illegal activity during the recall campaign.

Election Day began for me at 6 a.m. at the polls in Howell Precincts 1 where I was working my first General Election as an election official. The turnout was heavy from the moment the polls opened until around noon when it surprisingly fell off. It was a weird feeling being at the polls all day because there was a virtual news blackout at the polling place.

I was tunnel versioned between tearing off the top of the voter's ballot and helping them run it through the tabulator and checking off names in the poll book. Traffic picked up around 2 p.m., and traffic was steady but not overwhelming until the polls closed. I didn't leave the polls until 9:30 p.m. after we had closed everything out.

The good sign was that Obama had won Howell precincts 1 and 2 in predominantly Republican Livingston County.

Locally, the Buckland family was carrying the torch for local Democratic hopes. Dave Duckland had the best chance of putting a fresh voice on the all-Republican Livingston County Board of Commissioners, but he fell just short. Debby Buckland had a great shot at Hamburg Township Clerk in the county's most populous township where she fell just 322 votes short. She was actually leading with about half of the votes counted.

The incumbent clerk, Joanna Hardesty, lost in the GOP primary, but she launched a spirited write-in campaign. She got 2,239 votes, but her less than honest campaign continued to the end. A costumed giant pencil gave away pencils with her name on them outside the polls. That was legal, and it is even legal to take them into the polls. What it is not legal to do is to leave campaign material at the polls, and people were leaving the pencils behind on tables where the ballot application was being filled out and at voting booths. Since Hardesty was running the election, she knows better. Perhaps that's one reason she lost.

A person who is very close to the campaign told me this morning that if Hardesty had not been in the race Buckland would have won because the opponent is so disliked. I find that hard to believe, and I think the opposite is true. My hope was the two Republicans would split the Republican vote allowing Buckland to win, and it almost worked.

While I am still digesting the election news, it's hard to find much negative, and the only negatives are local. I guess we will remain a county with low taxes, but absolutely zero services.

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