District 1 decided – or is it?

Perhaps the “every vote counts” mantra is cliche but you might want to ask District 1 Councilwoman Shanie Shields about that. The final count of five absentee votes remaining from the April 7th city election put Shanie on top by a 133-132 margin over challenger Cynthia Polk. Of course, the closeness of the margin dictates a recount and once in awhile there’s a vote miscounted here or there.

What I wonder is if there is a recount, will occur in time to be complete for the swearing-in ceremony on Monday? That would be yet another bizarre chapter in Salisbury history if Shields is sworn in yet the recount finds Polk being the winner.

If not, then the question becomes whether Shields will stand by a remark she made earlier in the campaign and make this her last term. We have until 2013 to find out but given the razor-thin margins prevalent in that district recently, an election with no incumbent would certainly be a free-for-all.

Bitter and venomous

As those who haven’t been under a rock for the last couple months know, Salisbury’s city elections came to a yawning conclusion (for the most part) earlier this week. At the moment the only two people remaining on pins and needles are Cynthia Polk and Shanie Shields. After Shields led on Election Night, absentee balloting has thus far turned the tables and placed Polk in the driver’s seat by one vote with still a handful to be counted – a flat-out tie is a definite possibility.

But that rivalry is nowhere near as bitter as a couple I’ve observed over the last week. Let’s begin with the pitched disagreement here on this very website featuring “Outraged Richard” against a diverse coalition of commentors who really don’t care who Jim Ireton sleeps with either. In fact, as long as Jim isn’t going to make himself into an example of a gay mayor (as opposed to a mayor who happens to be gay) then I see no issue with that for 95% of the population. My objections to Ireton are strictly policy-based although I reserve the right to comment if he makes his lifestyle choice a political issue.

Aside from “Outraged Richard”, I think the issue pretty much stayed where it belonged – in the closet, as it were. But I’m certain this statement will draw more comment on both sides – good for readership I suppose!

Now, whether the recent uneasy truce between Jonathan Taylor (aka the Salisbury Grinch as in Views of a Salisbury Grinch) and Joe Albero of Salisbury News will hold or not probably depends on the seconds, thirds, and so on in their duel. We ended up making the rivalry a thorny side issue in all three electoral races, with Taylor favoring Gary Comegys, Shanie Shields, and Muir Boda while Albero backed Jim Ireton, Cynthia Polk, and Debbie Campbell.

Depending on how the District 1 race turns out Albero may go 3-for-3 but longtime readers of the local blogs may recall how disheartened people were with Louise Smith (who had pretty much unanimous backing from the local bloggers.) So Joe shouldn’t count his chickens before they hatch because Polk could be the next example of a vote in favor of those Albero detests.

Perhaps a legitimate question can be asked regarding what happens next with both websites. Taylor wants to change his direction and focus on the good within Salisbury but that will be a turnoff to those who expect him to counter what they consider the overreaching by Albero on certain topics, and this redirection will likely be greeted with a great deal of skepticism by those on Joe’s side, particularly G.A. Harrison of Delmarva Dealings.

And then you have Albero and his numerous co-contributors, along with the sycophants who slavishly support whatever he says. The question can be asked whether his enemies list – a grouping which seems to dwindle with each passing day as the political winds shift – will become too small to keep Joe’s site interesting. After all, one can only read so many police reports and public service announcements before wishing for red meat, and let’s face it – Barrie Parsons Tilghman was a major source of protein for Joe and his readership.

For someone like that, there always needs to be a foil; an archenemy to unite one’s purpose. Mine is big government, unfortunately that particular devil of mine isn’t going anywhere soon. Aside from the occasional Harrison article, one thing Salisbury News generally lacks is good political commentary. But Joe rarely lacks for an enemy – I’ve even come in handy a time or two along with pretty much every other blogger who’s not a contributor of his.

Most troubling amongst all the conflict is the ease with which both men stepped into the realm of making it about family. Personally I don’t care who went first, neither needed to go there. And to be perfectly frank I’m of the belief that the truce isn’t going to last very long because there’s too many anonymous commentors who like nothing better to stir up trouble and have an axe to grind against either Taylor or Albero.

While Joe tends to dismiss what I do and the reach I have, he forgets that I’ve been at this longer and have a pretty good memory of what’s come before on the local website scene. There’s been a number of what I dub “anti-Albero” sites and thus far Joe has outlasted them, in part because he has a larger enemy (and likely deeper pockets too.)

So if Taylor is no longer the bogeyman and Barrie Tilghman is out of the political picture, who becomes the enemy Joe craves? At the same time, can Taylor resist the frequent opportunities for cheap shots?

If either want to get the respect each thinks they deserve, then both Joe and Jonathan need to achieve a much higher level of discourse than they’ve shown over the last several months. Only time will tell who blinks first in this contest of wills.

The unofficial results are in – Salisbury election 2009

Here are the unofficial results for the 2009 Salisbury city election. There’s still a number of absentee ballots to be counted but it appears that Jim Ireton will be the new mayor by a fairly significant margin.

There’s also a decent possibility that the constitution of City Council will be unchanged, although the absentee ballots will determine the District 1 results between Shanie Shields and Cynthia Polk – after the initial count just 3 votes separated the pair.

Probably the only real surprise to me was the strength of Ireton’s win, since I was thinking more along the lines of an 8-to-10 point win rather than the 18 point bulge he enjoyed. Obviously the primary win margin held true through the general election as those who supported the also-rans and those who skipped the primary split in a similar fashion to the March 3rd balloting.

The District 1 result could echo that of 2005, where it was the absentee ballots splitting in Shanie Shields’ favor which allowed her to oust an incumbent. If Cynthia Polk picks up just four votes history could repeat itself.

While I would have liked to see Muir Boda put up a little better number, it’s no surprise that Debbie Campbell won handily. As I said in a comment for the last post I’m hoping Boda takes another shot in 2011, when there will be three District 2 seats open.

Looking ahead to 2011, I seem to recall in the dim recesses of my mind that Louise Smith only wanted one term in office so that seat would open up. Terry Cohen would be a formidable incumbent but voters may be more inclined to throw out Comegys as a loser in the previous election. Thus, it is possible that we could have significant turnover in the City Council at the midpoint of Jim Ireton’s term.

Of course the question now becomes just how much of his ambitious agenda Jim Ireton will be able to accomplish with the limited funds he’ll have at his disposal. Perhaps the better question may yet be just how high he’ll need to raise taxes and fees to cover those items near and dear to his heart – or how indebted he’ll be to Barack Obama and Martin O’Malley to chip in and defray the overt cost to city taxpayers.

As far as City Council is concerned, the question now becomes whether that infamous 3-2 split will change if Polk overtakes Shields in the final count. On a number of key issues the Council split with Comegys, Smith, and Shields lining up against Cohen and Campbell. With longtime Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman out of the way, it’s assured that for a certain segment of the population there will be no one to blame if Salisbury’s struggles continue.

Another change certain to be pushed is a change back to a line-item budget once again. Over the last several years the trend has been to a more general departmental budget, but Jim Ireton campaigned on a platform of transparency and we’ll see if he follows through fairly quickly on his promise once the FY 2010 budget is put into shape.

Above all, I hope Ireton allays my concerns with some of what I see as anti-growth positions. Even though my paycheck doesn’t completely depend on growth anymore I certainly don’t want this part of the Eastern Shore to stagnate any longer than it has. We seemed to be one of the first areas into the recession and hopefully we’ll be among the first out.

There are a number of strikes against us, though, and if the wrong parts of the Ireton agenda are enacted too quickly it could set us back even further.

Salisbury election thoughts

Tomorrow the voters in Salisbury will cast their ballots for three city offices: mayor and two of the five council seats. However, the turnover on City Council could become three of five members if Gary Comegys is elevated to the Mayor’s chair. On the other hand, if Jim Ireton wins the Mayoral election and both incumbents retain their seats the current composition of City Council will continue on with a change in the philosophy of the Mayor’s office.

But which scenario would be the best for Salisbury? Well, if you want my opinion you’re obviously here to read it.

Let’s look at the Mayoral race. The biggest issues are crime, fiscal responsibility, the neighborhoods, and the environment. Both candidates are advocates of community policing, which in and of itself isn’t a bad idea. On fiscal responsibility, though, Ireton simply spoke in platitudes about transparency in spending and improving the audit. Gary Comegys has at least placed the ideas of privatization and outsourcing city services in the hopper and vows to “make it easier for businesses to do business in the city.” I don’t see that pro-job attitude coming from the Ireton camp as readily.

Needless to say, both candidates want to improve the neighborhoods and the Wicomico River. A couple questions spring to mind about what Ireton proposes though. For example, what funding would be there to establish a Community Law Center as Jim has advocated? Or the Wicomico River Project? It seems to me that Jim has a lot of ideas about using government to improve the quality of life, but is that truly the place of the city’s government to accomplish?

On the whole, while neither candidate is exciting or going to radically change Salisbury for the better, I have to believe that the better person for the job is Gary Comegys. I just don’t see Jim Ireton as being as good for bringing jobs to Salisbury – however, he’s the odds-on favorite to win given his reasonably large margin in the primary.

In District 1, the same sort of rule applies. I’m not crazy about either candidate’s prospects for improving the city because Shanie Shields hasn’t done a whole lot to distinguish herself in four years on City Council. However, there’s not a whole lot to recommend Cynthia Polk either. It’s difficult to see her as a good contributor to the cause.

The only race between two good candidates is in District 2. Both of them promise to be good stewards of taxpayer money, and either would be a great City Councilman. It would actually be somewhat of a nice scenario to have Comegys elected Mayor and allow the loser of this race to be selected to fill the vacated District 2 seat. I could see this more readily if Muir Boda loses than if Debbie Campbell does.

Now many who read this will say that the “good-ole-boy” network will be alive and well if Comegys is victorious. But there would be a different network in charge if Ireton wins and I’m not convinced that the change would be any better than that we’ve experienced in the 2 1/2 months since we’ve placed a new President in office.

DCWC/WCRC candidate forum – March 18, 2009 (part 2)

Last night I went over the Mayoral portion of the forum; today I look at the City Council races. These seemed to go much more quickly than the Mayoral part did but perhaps that was because of going over the introductions and ground rules.

Once again, the rules were for a two-minute opening statement, two-minute responses to questions written by members of the respective groups (two apiece, for a total of four) and one-minute answers to audience questions (up to two). The closing statements were timed for two minutes.

Continue reading “DCWC/WCRC candidate forum – March 18, 2009 (part 2)”

DCWC/WCRC candidate forum – March 18, 2009 (part 1)

Part One will cover the ground rules and Mayoral portion of the forum; Part Two will deal with the City Council races.

It makes for an unwieldy post title, but tonight’s candidate forum was a joint effort between the Democratic Club of Wicomico County and the organization I belong to, the Wicomico County Republican Club. As far as how the show was performed, the two bodies split questions down the middle (two from each group for each race, plus two from the audience) and moderating duties were shared between the DCWC’s Michael Farlow and WCRC’s Dustin Mills. Perhaps the only mild complaint was registered by District 2 Council candidate Muir Boda, who is a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party here in Maryland.

Tonight’s forum involved all six remaining candidates in Salisbury’s upcoming election, but a former candidate made news prior to the event by endorsing one of his opponents.

In stating that District 1 challenger Cynthia Polk “offers the people of District 1 the attention and the change they hunger for”, Tim Chaney claimed that the change was made clear by the fact that over 2/3 of the primary votes went against the challenger. (It’s worthy of noting though that each voter was allowed to select two choices in the March 3 primary election.) Chaney also charged that incumbent Shanie Shields has allowed “Taj Mahal” buildings to go up “while District 1 neighborhoods are left to crumble” and endorsed Polk “with both my head and my heart.”

The format of the forum itself was quite simple: each set of candidates was to have a two-minute opening statement, two minutes apiece to answer the four questions selected from the respective clubs, and one minute apiece to answer the two audience questions prior to a two-minute closing statement. It made for a briskly-paced evening; all told the forum lasted just 70 minutes.

Continue reading “DCWC/WCRC candidate forum – March 18, 2009 (part 1)”

The cancer revisited

It was a few days ago that remarks by Salisbury mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman were splashed across national news. Well, perhaps splashed may not be the proper word but word has trickled out slowly about the comments she made regarding local bloggers. Yeah, I’m sure she was referring to one in particular but we all get tarred by the same brush.

In fact, my blogger friend Bob McCarty wrote to me regarding this incident and asked:

Are you the object of the mayor’s scorn?  Seems like an opportunity to write as if you are.  Have fun!

To be perfectly honest I doubt that I am the subject of her wrath simply because I’m not writing this website to create controversy but instead to provoke thought and hopefully change minds to a more correct style of thinking.

I indeed have fun writing this website, unfortunately I don’t always have the time I’d like to devote to it with my new line of work. Sometimes in life one has tradeoffs and this is mine. In this case that fact is neither here nor there; what matters is the impression made of our small town and its blogosphere. You could call us muckrakers or mudslingers, depending on how you see what we aim to accomplish.

For me, Tilghman’s comments harken back to those made about 2 1/2 years ago when the local blogging roster was somewhat different. Then-County Executive hopeful Ron Alessi called Salisbury-area bloggers a “cancer” in the local media and perhaps made local media stars out of one or two. But I took great offense to that statement (as I do with Tilghman’s) because, deserved or not, we all are lumped together regardless of whose side we’re on.

Far from attempting to bring down the community, my job is to improve it. Tomorrow night I’m going to take my notebook and pen and transcribe the happenings at the candidate forum jointly sponsored by the Wicomico County Republican Club and the Democratic Club of Wicomico County. That’s not to say I’m not going to sprinkle my opinion on what’s said there into the retelling, and I’m certainly going to think about good questions to ask each candidate pairing. Some may find my questions biased but I don’t have any dogs in these fights – unfortunately the two best candidates in my estimation go up against each other in a City Council race while it’s Tweedledee against Tweedledum in the other two slots insofar as I’m concerned.

But the idea is to inform whatever voters happen to stop by my site as to what the candidates say and what I think it means for the future of Salisbury. Perhaps I don’t live in the city proper, but a number of my current and prospective clients do and it’s in all of our best interests to make the city the best it can be, regardless of which bloggers may be offended.

A unique way to contribute

Update: Muir Boda took the time to extend his remarks in an e-mail to me this morning – this update is at the end of the article.

This took a lot of in-kind donation to put together:

Come join the FUN at this unique fundraising event!  Salisbury’s own Antique & Attic Treasures Appraisal Day will be held on Sunday, March 29, 2009 from 1pm to 5pm at the Ward Museum on the corner of Beaglin Park Drive  and S. Schumaker Drive in Salisbury.

Appraisers Ann von Forthuber and Howard Simons of Auctioneers Appraisers & Estate Representatives will be there to appraise your furniture, art, jewelry…anything you may be curious about its value.  George Chevallier, an area historian, will also be available if you have treasures of specific local history to be valued.  You may have up to three (3) items appraised with the price of admission.  Please bring a 100 word description of your object(s).

“This will be a fun and unique fundraiser for my campaign.  I love that it will bring the community together in one of the nicest venues that we have to offer”, said Debbie Campbell, City Councilwoman for District 2 in Salisbury.

Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased online at www.campbell4council.net. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Bill Reddish will be our emcee for the afternoon and food will be available from Chef Stewart’s Catering, best known for his Flannery’s BBQ!

All proceeds benefit the campaign to re-elect Debbie Campbell for Salisbury City Council, Authority, Shawn Thomas, Treasurer.  Sponsorships are also available for this event.  For additional information, visit www.campbell4council.net or call Cynthia Williams at 410-749-8012.

Since I neither have anything that’s worth appraising nor have the free time on my calendar because of a previous commitment, I’ll have to pass.

I also decided to ask Muir Boda if he had any such fundraising plans on his part. Here’s what he said:

Thanks Michael.  I heard she was having this.  I have been having some small meet & greets, nothing really to advertise.

I am actually encouraging people to donate to my Mission Trip to Peru.  Checks made to Oak Ridge Baptist Church are Tax Deductible.  $15 will cover the cost of a medical exam and 1 years’ school supplies for a child.

Any donation to my campaign can be made online.

While this is certainly a worthy cause – and obvious because Muir’s wife is a Peruvian native – the question which springs to mind is when this mission trip would be held and how long would he be gone? Some have questioned Campbell’s commitment to City Council because of her regular absences from work sessions due to her job but scheduling a mission trip is also a legitimate question of timing as well.

In the meantime I’m sure a number of people will be helping Debbie Campbell out in her efforts, and I have to hand it to her for coming up with a fairly unique idea to raise money.

Now here’s how Muir Boda extended his remarks:

I should have been a little more forthcoming on the Peru Mission Trip. Thanks for posting it, I appreciate it.

My reasoning for suggesting people donate to the mission trip is that sometimes we are part of something is bigger than our own little corner of the world. I will certainly accept donations for my campaign, I just feel that helping a child get medical exams and school supplies is more important than me buying more signs or brochures. My thought was if people are are not inclined to donate to a political campaign, maybe they would donate to a cause of more importance.

The Mission Trip is July 29th through August 9th (this coming summer). My wife and I lead one usually every 18 months. The last time we went was to help with the Earthquake in Chincha, Peru.

This time we will be in Jose Galvez, Peru. There will be a large event where over 600 Children will each receive a Medical Exam, any medication they may need, hygiene education and one year of school supplies.

We will have several other smaller events where we will serve a hundred or so. Our goal is to reach 1000 children.

We have about 25 people from ORBC going on the trip.

The Church Address is:

Oak Ridge Baptist Church
321 Tilghman Road
Suite 207
Salisbury, MD 21804

On that count, Muir is correct. Whether he wins or loses on April 7th, I’m certain he’ll go through with the trip because he’s not doing it for political gain but for his faith, which obviously means he has his priorities in order.

Further Salisbury analysis

Late edit: After the absentee ballots were counted, Bob Caldwell made a late charge but to no avail – he still fell a dozen votes short. It’s just outside the 0.5% margin which usually triggers an automatic recount.

The oddity of their system may make the results a bit tricky, but I suspect Bob Caldwell isn’t going to make up 38 votes out of the 200 or so absentee ballots left to count tomorrow. Here’s why.

Let’s say for sake of argument that there’s 200 votes left to count. Gary Comegys was named on 560 of 1,394 cards, which translates to 40.17% of the people having him as one of their two votes. Thus, it’s reasonable to expect that Gary would pick up about 80 votes out of the 200 remaining.

In order for Bob Caldwell to pass Gary Comegys, he in turn would have to be named on 119 of the final 200 ballots, or just under 60 percent. Jim Ireton won the primary by being on just over 60% of the ballots, so Caldwell would have to pull off the feat of matching the pace of the overall winner in a race where he performed 20 points worse.

By the same token, it’s all but impossible for Tim Chaney to make up 17 votes in what are probably around 40 outstanding ballots for District 1. They would almost have to be “bullet votes” for Chaney in order for him to make up the deficit.

“Bullet voting” is a philosophy that would be interesting to explore in this election. In a multi-candidate election, the principle holds that not casting a full ballot gives an advantage to the chosen aspirant because none of their opponents gain votes. With Jim Ireton winning by such a large margin it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if many of his supporters didn’t vote for another candidate, simply choosing to vote for just Jim.

But others who saw Ireton as a weaker opponent for their favorite (either Bob Caldwell or Gary Comegys) may have padded Jim’s total with their second vote to assure he would be the general election opponent. Ireton does have a few questions surrounding his earlier City Council term and Gary Comegys elaborated on one during the NAACP forum.

I don’t see this mayoral race being the runaway that the primary suggested it would be. I think it’s going to be a margin in the single digits when all is said and done, and I don’t think Jim Ireton is the shoo-in favorite some may see him as being based on yesterday’s vote. There’s five weeks of slugging it out between now and April 7th and who knows what rocks may be hidden in the mud being slung.

City of Salisbury election results (and analysis)

It was a fairly rapid count of ballots in the city election this evening as all 20 precincts were counted within one hour. When the dust cleared the results favored the Democrats in the race.

Jim Ireton swept to an easy win in the Mayoral primary while Gary Comegys narrowly defeated Bob Caldwell for the second spot, with Mike Della Penna trailing the field badly.

In District 1, the April finale is anyone’s race as just two votes separated the incumbent Shanie Shields and challenger Cynthia Polk. This sets up another possible turnover in the seat as Shields herself narrowly defeated incumbent Von Siggers in 2005 to win the District 1 bid. Tim Chaney placed third and Ralph McIntyre was fourth.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was Ireton’s margin of victory. Out of nearly 1400 votes cast (a dismal 11% turnout, which is not uncommon in city races) he garnered a vote on 60.2% of the votes cast (voters were allowed to select two candidates of the four in the field.) So Ireton was the first or second choice of a majority of the electorate; the question remaining for April is whether he’ll remain as a first choice without any Republicans in the running and with presumably a larger turnout.

With Bob Caldwell losing by such a slim margin, the pointing of blame may go to Mike Della Penna for possibly splitting off votes from Caldwell but I think more of the cause arises from the lack of a District 2 primary. This is particularly so when the candidate who dropped out and eliminated the need for a primary in that district, Bryan Brushmiller, previously ran as a Republican in 2006 for County Council. Because there were two GOP candidates it was possible to go straight ticket in the primary and perhaps Della Penna would have gained enough votes at Gary Comegys’ expense to advance Bob to the final polling.

This also sets up an interesting mayoral election because, while neither remaining candidate would be mistaken for Ronald Reagan in either the aspect of their political leanings or communication skills, Republican voters might opt for the more moderate tone and lengthier experience of Gary Comegys. But will it be enough to overcome a head start that Ireton has of about half again Comegys’ total?

Looking at District 1, the Shields-Polk battle is probably going to be the story of Election Day in April, with the contest possibly going to absentee ballots for resolution. Even moreso than the mayoral race, this race ultimately depends on who was the first choice and who was the second choice of those casting ballots today. I just have a hunch that this race will be an upset win for the challenger for the second time in a row.

The mayoral battle will also serve as a proxy for District 2. While challenger Muir Boda has already publicly announced his backing of Gary Comegys, Debbie Campbell would presumably favor working with Jim Ireton as mayor. But, one has to factor in the change in City Council should Comegys win and who would fill the District 2 seat. With the method of selecting a replacement based solely on the vote of City Council, (citing the City Charter here)

In case of a vacancy for any reason in the Council, the Council, within four (4) weeks of the occurrence of the vacancy, shall elect some qualified person to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term. In case of a vacancy for any reason in the office of Mayor, the Council, within four (4) weeks of the occurrence of the vacancy, shall elect some qualified person to serve as Acting Mayor for the unexpired term. Any vacancies in either the Council or the office of Mayor shall be filled by a majority vote of all the members of the Council. In case the Mayor or any Councilman shall fail to qualify within five (5) days of notification of election, a vacancy shall exist to be filled as provided in this section. The Council shall immediately certify any vote so taken to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall record the vote and shall forthwith notify the person so elected, who shall, within five (5) days of notice, qualify in the manner as regularly elected city officials.

it will bear observation as to who the two competing factions of City Council (generally Louise Smith and Shanie Shields vote opposite of Debbie Campbell and Terry Cohen) could agree on as a compromise candidate. Of course, all bets are off if Muir Boda and/or Cynthia Polk become Council members. Perhaps Campbell could grudgingly back Comegys if the right replacement is promised for Gary’s City Council seat, which would only be for a two-year term.

With five weeks now ticking away for tonight’s winners, look for a much more aggressive push for votes to get underway beginning tonight.

Addressing turnout for 2 too

With the Salisbury city primary election upcoming on Tuesday, I received a press release from Debbie Campbell’s campaign this evening simply pointing out where the lines are drawn for the City Council race. In the linked .pdf file, the area of District 1 is shaded pink while her District 2 is shaded yellow. I suppose one could call it breaking news, at least in terms of when it hit my e-mail box.

For the most part the area of Salisbury lying north and west of the Wicomico River is shaded pink, except for the area along Pemberton Drive beyond the school and West Salisbury Little League diamonds, which are part of District 2. Much of Salisbury’s minority population is segregated into District 1.

In turn one could make the assumption that turnout in District 1 will be heavier than average because they’ll have a Council race to vote on whereas those in District 2 will only have the Mayoral primary, which may dampen turnout to some extent.

In my mind this gives somewhat of an advantage to the two Democrats on the ballot in this “nonpartisan” election. As we’ve found in 2008, the vast majority of the minority vote goes toward the Democrats and their area will be turning out in numbers greater than average. Meanwhile, most of the city’s Republican base lives in District 2, where voters  may have a lack of motivation to show up for voting on a chilly March day.

So if you want to get a Republican on the final ballot it’s going to be definitely up to Republicans getting to the polls and voting for Bob Caldwell or Mike Della Penna. Let the Democrats be lazy Tuesday.

I also got a note from Muir Boda regarding his campaign contributions. So far his coffers are somewhat shy of Debbie Campbell’s and a good deal of his money comes from self-financing. As far as contributions go Boda trails by about a 2.5 to 1 margin; however, both candidates are in arrears to themselves for a significant amount of money.

Neither have attracted a large number of contributors. Campbell’s list includes several prominent names while the two largest contributions to Boda’s cause (aside from family and self-financing) came from former City Council member Lynn Cathcart and local businessman John Robinson, who both maxed their alloted limit.

It was good of Boda to provide me the list, as he sent it to my Facebook page. And while he trails in fundraising at this time, I suspect much more money will come to that race after the mayoral race is set. Once the contenders are separated from the pretenders that’s generally when the tempo and degree of fundraising usually increase.

Local disclosure

This is an interesting item I was allotted on Tuesday night. City Council candidate Debbie Campbell sent me this press release, which read in part:

City council member Debbie Campbell, candidate for reelection for the District 2 council seat, will post her campaign finance report for the reporting period ending 2/25/09 on her website today in the “Press Room” and “Hot Topics” tabs.

“I continue to advocate for transparency in government and politics.  While campaign reports are available to the public through filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the government, I am happy to make the reports easily accessible to the public.” says Campbell.  “I appreciate the contributions that have been made to the campaign and the support that I have received through volunteerism.  It would be my honor to serve Salisbury for a second term.”

What I noticed about the actual report is how few people have actually contributed to her cause. If you throw out a couple contributions I’m guessing were made in order to verify the PayPal system really works, there’s fewer than 30 contributors thus far with just two opting to use PayPal.

I’ll grant that Mrs. Campbell has no need to worry about votes until April because of her primary, but Debbie’s biggest expense seems to be the items she paid for herself, including $896 to a Houston firm for yard signs and car magnets. (I wonder if the Campbell’s Soup cans are among the $10 for “table decorations.”)

Perhaps I’m just used to poring over pages and pages of contributions to see just who likes candidate A or candidate B but it sure seems like very few people are currently willing to put a financial stake into that Council race (since Muir Boda reads my site sometimes I’m curious how his finances have shaped up thus far as well.)

To this point, money hasn’t really corrupted politics in that Council district. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the real fundraising drive begins now that the pre-election disclosures are pretty much out of the way.