As the weeks go past in route to May’s primary election, I’m providing periodic candidate statements of substance, mostly unretouched, as lifted from social media and news reports. Familiar gems such as “yard signs win elections, not people” and “donate to my campaign first, and maybe I’ll have something of merit to say much, much later” will be omitted. That’s because it is my aim to determine whether our declared candidates have anything to say at all, and I’ll quote all candidates, from any and all parties, whether or not they’re in a contested race. Just promising change and new ideas without divulging them won’t cut the mustard, aspirants.
We’ve been listening to what they’re saying, and before turning it over to Tonye Rutherford (below), here is an overview of contested primary races in the context of what we’ve heard.
Unsurprisingly, candidates without primary opponents have tended to reveal little in terms of platform content, although there are exceptions (Al Knable and Cliff Staten spring to mind).
There are three contested Democratic Party races. For mayor, the incumbent Jeff Gahan defends against a challenge from David White. In the city council at-large, returnees John Gonder and Shirley Baird are joined by four candidates in “pick 3 from 6”: Brad Bell, James Garner, Adam Keeler and Hannegan Roseberry. In District 5, Dustin Collins is pitted against two-termer Diane Benedetti.
Not much of substance has come from the mayoral duo. Gahan merely releases numerous photos of TIF-financed public works projects, and White tends to fall back on long-since released, poorly edited position statements emphasizing sales-oriented economic development.
Gonder has revealed a bit more than Baird. Garner has been completely invisible on social media, and Bell more concerned with state issues than local ones. Keeler has been better, and Roseberry easily the best when it comes to moving outside the box with content.
In terms of social media, Collins has been ubiquitous, easily outpacing Benedetti, who does not seem to embrace the medium. Unfortunately, some mud has been slung in this race, arguably diverting attention to points both candidates have made about 5th district concerns.
On the Republican side, three District 6 candidates are vying for the nomination: Larry Belcher, Noah McCourt and Nick Vaughn. McCourt has gained confidence as the campaign has progressed, taking positions and delineating himself as a libertarian among Republicans. Vaughn has a young person’s instinctive feel for social media and casts himself as an up and comer in perpetual motion. Belcher has had little to say.
In District 5, it’s Danita Burks and Tonye Rutherford for the GOP. Rutherford lost to Benedetti by less than two dozen votes in the 2011 general election. Burks has been silent, but on Sunday, Rutherford was a guest on the Black Heart Conservative radio show (970 AM), and you are recommended to listen to the podcast. It is very revealing.
Among the topics of discussion are storm water drainage, potholes, snow removal, the Louisville West End Wal-Mart, campaign finance and even the Ohio River Bridges Project. Rutherford reveals that he doesn’t wear a Fitbit, but has been hitting the streets in his district, and he logs more local substance in this podcast than most of the other primary contestants have managed so far.
The link is at Soundcloud: Black Heart Conservative 04-12-15.