The Sarasota Herald-Tribune predicted that "instant incumbency" might confer a political advantage, but now we see the power inherent in the system. Wednesday evening, the 14th of September, all but three or four of the most prominent and proven local Republican fundraisers solidly lined up behind the Christine Robinson juggernaut.
I always assumed a juggernaut was some sort of nautical warship, like a dreadnought. I mean, "naut" is right in there at the tail end of the word. But it's really a gigantic chariot that early European observers believed that the faithful threw themselves under out of devotion. So metaphorically, a juggernaut combines nearly unstoppable momentum and a totally committed horde of true believers.
The list of hosts, sponsors, and patrons is truly breathtaking. And her supporters include not just the men behind the curtain, but also each of the four other sitting County Commissioners. Every one. Juggernaut indeed.
Ms. Robinson became a county commissioner because of a single "vote", but that one vote happened to be the Governor's when he appointed her, frustrating dozens of Republicans who seemed to think they deserved a chance.
To be fair, Christine was (and is) far more qualified than many, if not most, of the other Republican contenders. But if their fate wasn't sealed by instant incumbency, it is now. Way beyond the amount of money raised, this pre-emptive event sent a clear signal that other Republicans don't need to waste any time or resources imagining being the District 3 Commissioner. And the message is probably even clearer to any Democrats or others who might have considered having a go.
The 2012 ballot will be crowded and possibly confusing. Luckily, we have a system that takes the worry out of many elections. Is this a great county, or what?