June 23, 2009

Sad Day for Democracy in Hillsborough County

While many of us are still reeling from the epic mishandling of the past election by Buddy Johnson here in the Tampa Bay area, we have suffered another critical blow. Our recently elected Supervisor of Elections, Mrs. Phyllis Busansky, has passed away while at a conference in St. Augustine, FL. See story HERE.

First, I'd like to offer our collective condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues, and wish that all goes smoothly for you while you prepare for the future. She will be missed by many as a friend and certainly as a fierce politician who had a plan to turn around the poorly handled Office of the Supervisor of Elections.

So what comes now you ask? Admittedly, not an hour ago, I wasn't even quite sure of the answer to that question, but thanks to Joe, I am now.

Pam Iorio (D) was the Supervisor of Elections until she won the mayoral race, leaving the SoE position vacant. In this case, it falls to the Governor of Florida (then Jeb Bush (R)) to appoint a replacement. That replacement was Buddy Johnson (R).

Over Buddy Johnson's tenure as SoE, numerous reports were filed outlining the mishandling of the office, including the loss of a considerable sum of money, and federal assistance was requested to cover the deficit. In addition, there were a number of business ventures and real estate dealings that seemed to be less than honest and properly done. See story HERE.

So now, this appointment falls to our current Governor, Charlie Crist (R). I applauded Crist's handling of the Election in the State of Florida, by extending Early Vote hours due to overwhelming response, even though some Conservative camps urged him not to do so. It was an example of putting partisan politics aside and being a good Governor.

However, Crist, despite his good deeds, is still heavily influenced by the GOP, and may be more inclined to appoint another Republican to this position, despite the majority of Hillsborough county favoring Democrats in this past election.

The question remains, with the GOP's tarnished brand of politics, would he dare do such a thing? And what would the benefit be to the GOP in Florida and beyond? Would he risk backlash from the Florida and Hillsborough Democrats? I guess only time will tell.

Posted by Aaron Butts | June 23, 2009 in Current Affairs, Florida, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)