Going into last night, I was not at all convinced that Hester would win. There had been so many things going on, the kind of things that have a way of turning people off to our political process if they only knew. The kind of things that make those elected develop the callousness that we often see in them. But the kind of things that should be brought to light, so that the people can take back our democracy from those who would like to minimize our role in it.
Hester was not the perfect candidate – no one ever is, really. And being involved in politics for as long as she had prior to her campaign for mayor in 2010, she had makes some mistakes and some enemies along the way. But the behavior of some people towards her candidacy went beyond the norm of things that should happen to those willing to serve.
Endorsements given and retracted. Outside influences creating resentment. The few attempting to exercise their power to choose the people’s representative. The leaking – and publishing – of the caucus information the day before the candidates received notification.
All that and more.
No, not all of the 42,000 registered voters in the 89th showed up last night. But enough did to hand a defeat to the powerful interests in our city. Having been the recipient of both their largesse and their scorn over the years, I hope Hester has learned a valuable lesson about who her friends really are.
I almost feel sorry for Yvonne Allmond. A political novice, she was but the latest of the pawns the power brokers have sought out to make “leaders” in the community. As broadcast pioneer Donald H. McGannon said, “Leadership is action, not position.”
I wonder if Allmond remembers what she said to me, publicly, as I, as a candidate, worked her polling location on Election Day in 2005. What she said was why I can’t completely feel sorry for her, because she had not a clue at that time what it takes to be a candidate for office. I’m guessing she got a little taste of that over the last couple of weeks.
Come Friday, we will know if the race in the 89th is over. That’s the filing deadline and at least one candidate, Lionell Spruill, Jr., is planning to file to run as an independent. Regardless, there will be an election on December 18th. And it will be a public one, administered by the State Board of Elections. Normal polling locations will be open with the usual hours.
But the real election was last night. That’s what political people knew – and why the stakes were so high.