Crist's home county wasn't the friendliest
By TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Published November 12, 2006
Among the bigger surprises of Tuesday's election was Pinellas County's relatively lackluster support for hometown boy Charlie Crist. The Republican nominee beat Democrat Jim Davis in Florida's most consistent bellwether county comfortably, but by slightly smaller margin - 51 percent to 45 percent - than he won statewide.
"I thought it would be at least 60-40. But the people say, 'You know something, we back up our party and they still don't do what they say they'll do.' It's frustration and apathy," said Pinellas GOP chairman Tony DiMatteo, suggesting Washington scandals and nasty campaign ads also hurt turnout.
Pinellas, loaded with competitive open legislative races, beat the statewide turnout average, but still had an anemic 47.6 percent turnout. That didn't help Crist. Nor did Reform Party candidate Max Linn of St. Petersburg, who received 3.7 percent of the vote there, and less the 2 percent across the state.
Democrats picked off two state House seats and a state Senate seat in Pinellas, but DiMatteo said the local party had little to do with those, and that given the climate he was pleased with the overall results.
THOSE NASTY ADS WORKED: Per the division of elections, it's official: Florida turnout stunk Tuesday. Fewer than 5-million voters - 46.4 percent - cast their ballots for the first open governor's race in eight years. That's the worst showing since 1962.
NOT MUCH OF AN EXAMPLE: Amendment 3, the constitutional amendment requiring all future amendments to pass by a margin of 60 percent or more, passed Tuesday with 57.7 percent of the vote. Ponder that a moment.
(The 60 percent provision is from here forward, not retroactive. So it doesn't matter.)
While you're at it, consider this: The only two counties that rejected Amendment 3 were Volusia and Pinellas, areas where editorials in the local newspapers recommended a no vote on the amendment (St. Petersburg Times, Daytona Beach News-Journal).
THURMAN ON CRIST: Florida Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman on Crist's win: "We hope Gov.-elect Crist will lead Florida in the same way he campaigned - as a moderate who cared about the people. If he stays true to his word, Florida Democrats can be strong allies in enacting moderate policies. We hope that with new blood and a fresh start, Democrats and Republicans together can again put the people first."
TRUSTEE BENSE: Gov. Jeb Bush last week appointed state Rep. Allan Bense, R-Panama City, to the Florida State University board of trustees. Bense, the outgoing speaker, replaces Jessie V. Furlow. Pending Senate confirmation, Bense will serve through January 2010.
Adam C. Smith, Joni James, and Lucy Morgan contributed to this week's Buzz. For much more breaking political news check blogs.tampabay.com/buzz
[Last modified November 12, 2006, 00:35:22]
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