Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finley, Plusquellic, and the 34-cent nightmare!

A few notes to pass along following last night's mayoral election "extravaganza!"

I had a lengthy discussion with Joe Finley this afternoon about why he's contesting the election results and what he hopes to accomplish. While he's challenging what poll workers told Republican voters who were hoping to switch parties and vote in the Democratic Primary, he's not willing to fight to the death. He plans to raise a complaint and ask that it be investigated while waiting for the 288 provisional ballots to be approved and counted. Still, knowing that he trails Mayor Plusquellic by more than 1,000 votes, Finley told me he won't hold out forever just to be spiteful.

I asked Finley if the two camps had exchanged cell phone numbers prior to last night's election watch parties. He quickly said they had not. Translation: if either party had opted to concede, they couldn't have done it because they had no way to reach each other. What's that say about how these two feel about one another, eh?

Finley also took me to task on the pre-election hype. He pointed to the results and asked me how I could say a few weeks ago on NewsNight Akron that this "wasn't much of a race" and that he "didn't stand much of a chance?" I told Finley that under the same circumstances, I would say the same thing. I told him that from the outside looking in, it's tough to give much of a chance to someone whose facing a multi-decade incumbent with a $ million kitty and expect them to win .. regardless of who they are. It was a good, honest conversation so I'm glad Finley was willing to challenge me.

I also asked Finley about the different ward results and he quietly shook his head telling me that he thought he would have done better in Wards 3 and 4. He felt that his camp had banged on a lot of doors and attended a lot of events in those districts to come up so short. He lost those two districts combined by more than 1,000 votes.

Maybe it's just me .. but for what it's worth, only in Akron can a mayoral race between two Democrats be contested by what supposedly happened to the Republicans.

Meanwhile, I asked to do a followup interview with Mayor Plusquellic but was told that he was headed to New Jersey on business. Ironically, after being told that DP was unavailable, I saw his car drive past me on Hawkins Avenue. Someone else was driving and the mayor looked like he was typing intently on his blackberry. I'm told he was on his way to the airport.

His comments last night seemed very much from the heart. Ever the quarterback, Plusquellic compared his six-percentage point win to wins by Ohio State and Appalachian State. His grandkids were there at the party, so I'm sure that played a part in DP not blasting Finley too much.

I also had a chance to chat with Bryan Williams at the Board of Elections today. He said yesterday's election ran like clockwork. He said the turnout was low as expected. A little more than 35,000 of the 100,000 printed ballots were used across the county Tuesday, leaving 64,000+ ballots empty.

Williams told me that each ballot cost 34 cents. Want to do the math on that one? That's more than $21,000 spent on blank ballots that must now be held in the safe for 60 days and then destroyed. $21K in wasted paper! Williams told me, "that's actually better than it used to be."

I can only imagine.

FYI, the November ballots will cost 36 cents each, so we won't have to destroy as many to waste the same amount of money. Maybe we could recoup the money by selling advertising on all that blank space that wasn't used on the ballot-that's-bigger-than-my-head.

Ads like, "If you can read this, thank a teacher and vote for that school levy above" ...


1 comment:

joe finley said...

Dear Eric, I appreciated our on and off the air conversation. The margin of the election was 3% not 6%. Our campaign will persue every avenue to expose the many irregularities noted in this election. You served in Iraq, I served in Viet Nam and 5 of my children are serving their country, one of them, Danny is headed to the Middle East in just a few weeks. I ask why do we serve if not to preserve our right to vote and choose our elected officials. That most prescious right has been seriously compromised in this election. I will fight to expose and correct the wrongdoing and so do my part in preserving our democracy. Sincerely, Joe Finley, Democratic Candidate for Mayor