Early voting ended today and it is good news for Republicans in Davidson County. There were 28,400 votes cast in early voting. Republicans head into Thursday's election with a 2,100 vote margin! This is impressive in two ways. First, this is a heavy voter turnout. I don't have the numbers for previous elections but I think this is considerably greater than the number of people who normally vote in the State primary and County general election. Second, Republicans are outvoting Democrats! Again, I don't have the figures but my impression is that normally the vote is about two-to-one Democrat.
I hate to say, "I told you so" but when I was arguing with Election Commission Chairman Lynn Greer that we needed to have early voting, he said voter turnout would be low and early voting beyond the one Howard School site was not justified. If it had not been for the people who rallied to the cause and demanded early voting we would not have had it. It is especially disappointing that in a Republican year, a Republican dominated election commission did not see the wisdom of having early voting. We owe a debt of gratitude to those citizen who lobbied for it and to those council members who responded to the voters and funded it. Many good Democrats and Republicans responded to the public demand and supported early voting and they had to overcome resistance from the election commission to do so. That is a shame.
I enjoyed spending the day with these people and getting to know them. From Left to right: Larry Crim, Democrat District 60; Charles Williamson, Republican District 51; Rod Williams (me) campaigning for Eric Crafton; Jim Gotto, Republican Candidate District 60, Howard Luartes, campaigning for Lonnie Spivak.
Jim Gotto chats with a voterI worked the polls yesterday and today at the Hermitage Library from opening until 12:30PM for Eric Crafton. It is hard, hot, tiring work but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting the voters and telling them why they should support Eric. I also enjoyed working with the other poll workers. I enjoyed getting to meet new people and getting to know better some people I already knew. I especially enjoyed spending time with Charles Williamson who is running for House District 51 and Jim Gotto who is running for House District 60. Neither of them have opposition in the primary, but they were taking this opportunity to meet the voters. That will help them in November.
Cece Heil and
campaign worker Darrell Chancellor
I know a lot of people do not like campaign poll workers. They say they have their mind made up before they get to the polls and they are not going to change their mind on the way to the door of the voting place. That is great and I understand that. I agree that almost no one has their mind changed by a campaign worker at the polls, however a lot of people are still undecided at that point. A lot of people are influenced by the last person who talks to them on that walk to the voting place door or by the most persuasive person. A lot of people know who they are going to vote for at the top of the ticket especially, but have not given much thought to the other offices. A lot of elections are won at the polling place by the effort of campaign poll workers. I know I talked to people today who knew who they were going to vote for Governor, but did not even know there was an election for Juvenile Court Clerk.
Hermitage Library was a heavy early voting site and a site that voted heavily Republican. Fifth district candidates Cece Heil and Lonnie Spivak each had an excellent poll worker. Howard Luartes worked for Lonnie Spivak and Darrell Chancellor worked for Cece Heil. I know that each of them got votes for their respective candidates today. If either of those candidates win by only a hand full of votes they need to thank their poll worker.
Cece and her husband Rick and their two children and some other supporters showed up today and stayed for about an hour. Cece made the rounds of all the early voting sites today. Ben and Phyllis West were among those accompanying Cece. Ben West is the retiring Democrat Representative who represents District 60, the district where Jim Gotto is running as a Republican to succeed him. I understand that yesterday afternoon Phyllis West worked the poll for Cece. Phyllis is charming and enthusiastic and well known. I am sure she has swayed a lot of votes for Cece.
Ben West, Cece Heil and Phyllis West
None of the other candidates came by this polling place while I was there and none of them had campaign poll workers. I am really surprised that Jeff Hartline had no presence at the polls. Since Jeff has lead in fund raising and has been perceived as the front runner, I would have thought he would have had the organization and volunteers to man the polls. Maybe Jeff is not as strong as some have thought.
The momentum is with us. We need to keep pushing and come out of this primary with a big lead. No matter who the nominee is, a big turnout now will improve our chances of beating Jim Cooper in November.
I especially would like to see Eric win. For the other Republicans this is their primary but this is it for Eric. This is his general election. With Eric, we have a chance to break the strangle hold the Democrats have had on this county since the founding of Davidson County. Eric's office is the first domino. If Eric can win, we can take other seats next time and Davidson County can become competitive for Republicans. If you did not vote early please vote August 5, take someone else to vote with you, and if possible volunteer to work for Eric on August 5th and work the phone banks for him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Momentum is with us; keep it up.