Making Sense Of It All
by Jason Bradley
Let’s face it. I’m no Carnac. I can’t bend spoons with my mind like Gellar. I can’t pick your card out of a deck. I think, however, I’ve got a pretty good handle on this year’s city council race in Crystal. Why? Because it’s weird, and I know weird. We are looking at races where all three incumbents lost their primaries. Now, they are all trying to downplay this fact, and saying that the primaries are not important. I beg to differ. This is the only city in the state, that I’m aware of, where all of the incumbents barely escaped their primaries. We’re not talking about a close election here. They failed to even get a third of the votes.
The incumbents wanted to get out the message that the primaries were a three-way race. Generally speaking, you try to get at least a third of the votes in this situation. Here, however, in Ward One, the third place finisher had six votes. In Ward Two, he had forty votes. It played little to no effect on the election. In Section Two, John was eight votes away from elimination, as he and his third-place opponent split just over fifty percent of the vote.
What does this mean going into the general election? Let’s look at 2012. Former mayor, ReNae Bowman, barely won her primary… but she won. Here’s what happened in the end. Both of the challengers carried voters that were fed up with the status quo. Those votes went the way of Jim Adams, and it was enough to flip the race.
I’m not sure that happens here for the second place finisher. Olga Parsons is, and Karen Lincoln was, running a campaign whose major issue was the unresponsiveness and lack of transparency of the incumbents running for election. I don’t believe that John will get Karen’s base’s vote. He is the object of her supporters’ biggest gripe. If anything, Olga picks those voters up in a hope to fix the City’s transparency problems. Remember, John came in third in vote totals in his own precinct.
So with all of the problems these incumbents have (i.e. the shellacking in the primary, lack of transparency, lack of respect for citizens, condescending attitude, and wasting your money), I believe they are in real trouble. Remember, as well, that the challengers have been out-door knocking and out-lit dropping the incumbents, while the current councilmen have relied on party and special interest endorsements. In 2010, former mayor ReNae Bowman endorsed Joe, Mark, and John. She hasn’t had much luck, as of recent. I point to the losses of Tim Hoppe, Dave Anderson, and herself as evidence. Things may tighten up some, but I don’t see how the three incumbents win. The tide seems to have turned in Crystal.
That doesn’t mean that everything is fixed. It just means we have a new group to learn about and keep accountable. I’ll take that any day, however, over getting someone I know I won’t be happy with. What will happen? We’ll see. Good luck to everybody involved.
Entry filed under: City Government, Crystal, Uncategorized. Tags: 2014 election, City Council, Community Solutions MN, Crystal, election, Elizabeth Dahl, Jason Bradley, Jeff Kolb, Joe Selton, John Budziszewski, Karen Lincoln, Mark Hoffman, Minnesota, MN, Olga Parsons, Section 2, Ward 1, Ward 2.