Thursday, April 21, 2005

With Runoff Likely, Front Runners Ignore the Outsiders at Their Own Peril

For a brief period WOAI had an unscientific running poll up and, while it lasted it showed some interesting data. Hardberger was ahead in the high 40’s, Julian was in the 20’s, Schubert was sitting around 12%, and very interestingly, Smith was at a whopping 8% and climbing with Oldham at 2% and the other candidates hovering around 1% each. Then, mysteriously, as soon as I had seen it, WOAI took down the poll. Hmmmm.

8%+2% +1%+1%=12%=the same amount of support as Carroll Schubert. Let me get this straight, with approximately $1,000,000, Carroll only managed to build the same size base of support as the combined support of the four little guys, who according to the City Clerk’s office have raised absolutely nothing. (more on theses candidates CFR status in later blogs)

Rhett Smith’s base is ¾ the size of Carroll’s yet it is unthinkable to include him in the debates? I don’t get it. If Juliian drops below 12% are all the cool politerati going to stop inviting him to their reindeer games as well? I don’t care what your politics are, if you’ve written a check to the Carroll Schubert campaign, you must be wanting your money back right about now. If he can’t bury the likes of the current Rhet Smith campaign while sitting on a $1,000,000 howitzer, then as a campaigner, he’s just a schmuck.

These figures have implications for Julian and Phil as well. Would either of these candidates ignore Schubert’s constituency in the likelihood the two of them made it into the runoff? I’ll wager not. They would be hustling the Northside for all its worth. The combined forces of the smaller campaigns could have the effect of being a spoiler in the final days. What makes the major campaigns so cocky?

Who are these people supporting the rear guard, do the frontrunners even know? Do you? Since nobody reports on their campaigns or invites them to the debates, probably not. Could their forces coalesce to be a factor in this election? You, bet they could.

Scuttlebutt has it that Rhett and Julie Oldham are buddies. While Julie is ignored in more mainstream circles, she has quite a following on the fringe. They might not all vote for her on Election Day, but they just might listen to Julie if she throws her weight behind one of the candidates. 2% may account for all those who will actually vote for her but it could be a serious mistake if the frontrunners ignore her pull in her social circle. The frontrunners would do good to remember that in 2004, Rhett Smith ran against Lamar Smith and received over 33,000 votes in Bexar county and more than 105,000 district wide. Even before the runoff, can any of the mainstream candidates honestly say that they could not use another 12% right about now?

How did Rhett Smith manage to get within spitting distance of Carroll with no resources? What is the demographic of his base? This quote from Rhett’s website might offer a clue:

“As a candidate for the office of mayor of San Antonio, it is entirely appropriate, during this holy season of Christian faith, to acknowledge the important role of Christianity in the lives of San Antonians and to acknowledge, also, the important role of all religions from around the world that now comprise our interfaith community throughout San Antonio. Without our religious faiths, our society's organizations and structures could not be sustained”

Rhett has been going around to various groups in the religious community and has been steadily gaining their support. Now in 2000 and 2004 when the Democrats weren’t ignoring or mocking these people, they were condescending to them, and look what it got them. Rhet has taken a page out of the Carl Rove playbook and, for better or worse, that page worked wonders for GW.

With two liberal Democrats running and the ex-Democrat turned Rockefeller-style Republican Carroll shunning this constituency, the local “mainstream” mayoral candidates seem to be out of touch with the new no longer silent majority. Now for all you secular materialist out there who protest that you don’t know any of these people and they don’t constitute a majority, I just have one thing to say. “Who’s the President?”

If you ignore people that make you feel icky or say things you think are unsophisticated, or pepper their diction with hyper-religiosity, you do so at your own peril. On Election Day they might just show up at the polls and ruin your whole day.


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in 2004, rhett smith ran against lamar smith and received over 33,000 votes in bexar county and more than 105,000 district wide.

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