Today is the last day I can file a complaint that could possibly overturn the April 13th election. I am not saying I am going to do that, but the time between then and now has allowed some information to surface that does tempt me to do so.
As I have been taking a break and getting back to making a living, my friends have been looking into those pesky last-day address changes that were written about in the Sunday Gainesville Sun. As the Sun reported, there is no evidence required to prove that you have actually moved into the Gainesville city limits on election day, and so anyone in Florida can actually come here and say so…and VOTE. If I had known that, I might have told those hundreds of county voters, who expressed remorse over not being able to vote for me, that they could move in with me that day, and move out that night on the grounds that it was too crowded!
My campaign workers have also been checking into absentee ballots. This appears to be a rich vein of voters who don’t really live here, but still vote here regularly. We know that over 40 of these phantom voters voted on March 16th, but we cannot get the April 13th voter data from the Supervisor of Elections until AFTER the 10 day period in which we are allowed to protest. That seems to be a pretty convenient rule to shut down investigations before they can even start. It seems to me that voters who want to commit fraud are on the honor system, but if you are a victim of fraud, you have very stringent guidelines.
At the end of the day, all we will probably know for sure is that according to the rules that I have to follow, I lost my race against Craig Lowe by 42 votes. But we will also have a cautionary tale for other candidates that run against the Democratic Machine in Gainesville FL: You had better make sure you beat them by a few hundred votes to cover the ones that you will be spotting them before Election Day.
Sunday, April 18th, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church will be bringing their wretched show to town. This is that incredibly noxious “God Hates Fags” church led by Fred Phelps and his deranged family. According to their website, they will be coming to Gainesville to protest 3 churches and a Jewish student center at UF. I cannot blame you if you don’t want to go to that link, so the schedule of their picketing expedition is as follows” Noon to 12:30PM at Trinity United Methodist Church, and 1-1:30 at the Hillel Center at 2020 W. University Ave. Then they skedaddle over to Queen of Peace Catholic Church at 10900 SW 24th Ave from 5-5:30, and finish out their “Reign of Error” at Saint Augustine Catholic Church at 1738 W. University Ave from 7-7:30.
Now you might ask, “Don, why are you so put out with Westboro Baptist Church?” It’s because they ruin God and Jesus for so many people. These ignoramuses go traveling around the country as if they are some sort of prophets setting the rest of the church straight by showing how mad we are supposed to be at the rest of the world. They rub salt in the wounds of the very people God has commanded us to heal and to whom we should show compassion. Then they rebuke everyone who is not like them. Is this really the Great Commission Christ gave to the church? Is this the example set by Jesus? Of course not.
So how should we respond to these modern day Pharisees? In the New Testament, those were the very people for whom He reserved His harshest criticism. Likewise, these frauds deserve our strongest condemnation. They do not belong to the Kingdom of God at all. They are (wait for it) of the Devil.
I know that it is a popular feeling that they should be ignored by the mainstream church. I believe this is a mistake. I believe this is the time to stand up and be counted. If the church is serious about reaching people in the LGBT community, then they need to stand with them and show them the love.
I am not saying you have to sell out all your beliefs. After all, many Christians disagree about major issues of eternal consequences, but DON’T hate each other! In fact, you are good neighbors and look out for one another. That’s all I’m saying: be a good neighbor and stand up with them against these clowns that you KNOW are dead wrong. And you know they are.
So, look at that schedule. I challenge you to come out and protest them at one of these locations, or more.
Today, we will be getting the results of the machine recount, and I am not expecting a different result. We will not be mounting a legal challenge to the election. And I don’t think the Supervisor of Elections Office did us wrong. There are probably some irregularities, like people who came here to vote from other cities, but in some cases it is legal to do so under Florida law, and even if you tracked down the illegal ones, you cannot be sure how they voted. In the final analysis, all elections have irregularities, just like all football games have a few missed penalties. We’re all only human, and elections are pretty good at determining the winner.
During this race, I learned the hard way how it feels to have my reputation smeared. It’s a new experience for me. I have never had to defend myself so vigorously against so much trash talking. While resisting the various charges and name-calling, I know I have struck a few innocent people. Brett Buell at TV20 took a lot of angry phone calls that resulted from a misunderstanding, and I told him I was sorry for that, and I asked my friends to leave him alone. And after asking for people to tell us if they got 2 ballots, we got no more reports than the three we initially heard about. I’ve concluded that it was the inevitable human error that is unavoidable when handing out over 12,000 ballots. And I have owned enough electronic equipment to know that it is most likely to fail when you are desperate to get something done on time. So the voting machine failure on election night is only a reason to curse the machines, not the poll workers. So, I offer my regrets and say I am sorry for doing to you what was done to me. It wasn’t fair, and I don’t want to have to hide from you in the grocery store. You are the referees in this game, and I appreciate your oversight.
Right now I am getting ready to get back to work and our normal lives. To my supporters, I say this: I am not giving up. The political process is a continuing story. As long as we have a high cost of living heaped upon us by our local government, it should be resisted. Our city commission may learn nothing from our campaign and keep raising our utility rates in the future, and increasing the size of government, and this must be addressed again in next year’s election. There are 3 seats to contest, and we must have like minded people challenging them.
As Zig Ziglar says, “Failure is an event, not a person”. We are not failures for having tried to hold an incumbent accountable. We will build on the support we have and make them listen to us next year. I thank you for having supported me in this effort, and I hope you will do so again. We came so close. Next time, I believe we will achieve a different result.
A woman contacted both me and the Supervisor of Elections to tell us that she was given two ballots by a poll worker. She is a Democrat who came to vote for me, and she was an honest person who gave one of the ballots back to the poll worker. She ran into someone at Publix right after that who told her she was also given two ballots! I would not have thought much of this except a man who supports my campaign told me he got 2 ballots during early voting…and he is a Democrat.
If anyone else wants to contact me about this, please do! Did you get 2 ballots from a poll worker? Are you a Democrat? How many of you are out there?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information! We want to make sure we had an honest election here!!
As many of you are aware, the election finished with our campaign down by 35 votes. This triggers an automatic recount. It also triggers a new round of slanderous accusation from Craig Lowe. At least this time he is saying them with his own mouth instead of depending on nameless surrogates. Here it is from the Gainesville Sun:
“All I can say is Don Marsh ran the dirtiest electoral campaign in the history of Gainesville,” Lowe said.
We ran an issues centric campaign from the beginning. Craig Lowe did not refute any of our points in any of our forums. He ignored every issue and stuck strictly to his script of, “I have proven leadership…I have experience”.
He had nothing to say about our ever rising electric rates that HE VOTED FOR. All he can do is change the subject and call me names, or have others do it for him. It is the same pattern of behavior that he demonstrated during the Transgender Bathroom debate in which he characterized anyone who disagreed with him as a homophobe and a bigot. This is cowardice of a high order. And it is a slap in the face to every Gainesville resident who suffers under an burdensome cost of living inflicted on them by a smug and self-satisfied city commission. But it’s nothing new.
So, did they cheat? Is there some sort of collusion between the Democratic machine that ran their puppet and people who supervise the vote? I am more than happy to let others utilize legal avenues to find that out. Let’s just say that if I judge this in the light of the nastiness of Lowe’s campaign, I would not be surprised.
Whether or not there is a conclusive discovery that overturns yesterday’s result, there is still a bigger problem: 83% of Gainesville voters sat on their hands and did nothing. This is the biggest contributor to our commission’s ability to abuse and manage us. If there had been a 50% turnout, and people voted according to their own self-interest, this would be a moot point.
Although it is apparently the plan of politicians to vilify and ruin me, I will stay in business because my customers know better. And I will run again, because it must be done and these cowardly individuals must be overcome. If not this week, then next year when there are 3 seats in contention.