In the 1990s, the Republican party aggressively started in taking over all levels of government elections, from mosquito control all the way up and this has paid off for them in a large way. As we have mentioned numerous times in this blog, the Democrats have to start building from the ground up if they are ever going to be competitive and stealing this strategy is a great start in order to build power. This week for Ten Dollar Tuesday, we go to the east coast of the state to Volusia county. Democrats have to start branching out and building a base outside of the metropolitan areas and this area has some potential.
Volusia County is a very interesting case study. On the surface, it is a very purple area, however, many local seats are held by Republicans despite the fact that Obama performed well here.Yet the area seems ripe for organizing: a healthy democratic performance, a wealth of environmental issues, and yet urban enough to have be progressive. Looking at it from the outside in, there are many different Democratic clubs around, yet few elected officials are Democrats, and this seems like a sign of communication problems. There is a lot of potential here if resources were available, but there are some major issues that need to be addressed that can serve as examples around the state.
While we are featuring Andy Kelly, there also needs to be discussion on local candidates and common fixable problems. First off, the Volusia Democrats needs to put candidates up on their website, because it is hard to tell who is running and who to support. Looking at many DEC websites, this is a common problem around the state that is really easy to address and is really important in low-information down-ballot races. Although many of these races are supposedly non-partisan, local parties can and do support certain candidates. The Volusia Republican party’s website does so with gusto on their website. Second, Kelly’s website – voteandykelly.com – does not appear to be functional, nor is his Facebook page able to accept donations, which is considerable problem in light of the fact that his Republican incumbent opponent has over $17,000 to his mere $2,500. These small problems are rampant in down-ballot races all over the state; these simple problems plague Democrats and handicap chances and are so easily remedied, yet they are everywhere around the state.
We can do better than this. In fact, we have to do better than this.
Andy Kelly does have a Facebook page if you want to check him out and hopefully he’ll get his website up and running soon. Regardless of the fact you’ll have you mail him a check if you want to give him ten bucks, Kelly does have the only shot of getting another democrat on the Volusia County Council. He was a County Councilman before he decided to run for Supervisor of Elections and now he wants his old job back. While there is a bitter D versus D battle over the incumbent Joyce Cusack against Term-limited Pat Northey for the at-large seat, Kelly is the only shot to build part of the bench here and work to turn out Democratic voters. So even though he has some hiccups, this does seem like an area where Dems can build and this should be encouraged.
And there are signs of hope in the area. The Volusia Democrats are opening an office this Friday night with local candidates and are getting ready for fall. This seems like an excellent spot for some revamping and energy to be spent. The lesson remains that little mistakes can have big consequences. DECs around the state can learn from simple mistakes like this and hopefully improve on them before November.