What Happened…and Why in 2014 Primary
Blaine R. Young
Recently several people asked for my thoughts and analysis on the upcoming Republican primary for county executive. I will decline other than giving you thoughts on what happened four year ago as it is a similar situation.
Also I will offer the name of the person for whom my wife and I have already cast our votes and why.
Since I have some experience in such matters, here is my analysis of the 2014 GOP primary.
Previous primary elections convinced me that the turnout was going to be low – as it always is. That's just a fact. In addition to my candidacy there were two others in the race.
David Gray, the longest serving Republican county commissioner in history, and the former disgruntled budget officer Mark Sweadner also filed. Both of them ran as anti-Blaine Young candidates with the same message: anti-growth, keeping Citizens Nursing Home in county hands, and give the Board of Education whatever it asked for, and so on.
It was obvious they would divide their votes because they were campaigning on the same issues. Both were from the northern part of the county and shared many of the same friends.
Being part of a family that has served in eight different offices, and being on the ballot over five decades, I grasped that elections are a numbers games. It does not matter which party you are in. I am the only member of my family who has won any election as a Republican. I also had endless funds to take the focus off the emphasis on the growth issue.
The end result of that primary with about 20,000 Republicans voting.
Blaine Young – 53 percent;
David Gray – 35 percent;
Mark Sweadner – 12 percent;
Of course, I lost the general election 53 percent to 45 percent to Jan Gardner – with a two percent under vote by those who didn't want either of us.
But I just wanted it to be over, so she actually did me a favor as I said I would only serve one term and leave.
The point is that Mark Sweadner would not drop out to give David Gray a real shot. Which gave me what I needed. Attack Mr. Gray’s liberal record and purposely drive votes to Mark Sweadner. Thank goodness he stayed in the race.
My wife and I have already voted for Kirby Delauter for many reasons. But most importantly we know where he stands on the important issues we care about, and I have seen him make motions and make tough decisions that most only talk about during a campaign.
Why do I offer this analysis you ask? I have seen Kathy Afzali's mailings, and I know many of the same people who ran my campaign are on her payroll now. These people are experts and are paid to do one thing only – win elections.
The major concern I have as a Republican is will we be able to unify the party after the primary to capture the county executive seat?
For the second time in a row Jan Gardner has no primary opponents and did not have to spend a dime. Over $200,000 has already been spent in the Republican primary for county executive.
The only hope in the general election may be former life-long Democrat Earl Robbins, who is trying to run as an independent. If he gets on the ballot and runs a strong campaign that may make the difference.
Best of luck to everyone as it is a major decision just to run for office. It is especially hard on their families.