By Lee White
My dad kept a copy of Dwight David Eisenhower’s memoir “Mandate for Change” on one of his many bookshelves. That title came to mind in the wee hours of this morning as I was trying to make sense of last night’s election results.
To hear Kelly Herzet and his supporters talking in messages to me and in The Wichita Eagle, one would think he truly had received an overwhelming mandate from voters to keep right on doing what he has been doing the past five years.
Herzet may have won the race, but 40 percent of the vote does not a mandate make — at least not a mandate for four more years of the same. Or is it three and out the door with Tony Wilhite appointed sheriff by the governor with the blessing of Herzet’s pals on the Republican Central Committee?
Understand this: 5,366 Republicans voted for a change in leadership. Only 3,625 voted for Herzet.
It’s crystal clear to anyone who bothers to do the math that a solid majority of Republican voters wanted somebody else running the sheriff’s department. They just couldn’t agree which one of the three challengers should get the job. That’s the risk any politician takes with a crowded primary field.
Another tome referred to the Eisenhower years as the “Hidden-Hand Presidency.” Herzet’s candidacy could be referred to in the same manner with regard to mudslinging.
Herzet’s campaign manager, Tresa Boline, told the Eagle that “we didn’t criticize others. We didn’t sling any mud.”
No, Herzet didn’t sling any mud himself. He had others do it for him. To be fair, so did the other candidates and I certainly carried water and mud for a couple of them (Walker Andrews and Mike Holton), but don’t feed me a line of crap that Herzet’s campaign didn’t engage in mudslinging and expect me to believe it. (Click on images for a larger view.)
I raised the possibility last night of a write-in campaign. I contacted Herzet’s three opponents and suggested the possibility. Write-ins are a longshot, but with unity and hard work — much harder work than anyone did in the primary — someone might have a chance given the 1,741-vote deficit when one subtracts Herzet’s votes from the total number of votes cast for candidates who ran against him.
But all I’m going to do is suggest. I ceased direct involvement in any campaigns in mid-July and will continue that policy going forward. Why? Quite simply, because I don’t need the headaches and I don’t need to campaign for anyone. As I told a couple of Herzet supporters who sent me messages last night, I had (at the time) 1,643 Facebook “likes.” As of this writing, I’m up to 1,648.
My audience — and influence — is growing. I’m already inching close to the number of “likes” the El Dorado Leader’s Facebook page has. My goal is to top the Times-Gazette’s page likes, which stand at 7,109. At some point, this hobby will turn into a business. Although I don’t foresee moving to Butler County — if commuting’s good enough for EMS Director Chad Pore, it’s good enough for me! — I’ll likely be spending more time there.
Someone once said, “Write what you know.” I know Butler County. Don’t wanna live there, but, hey, neither does Pore and he seems to be doing well.
So save me a bunk at Station 2 and get ready for four more years — of me! Ain’t it great to be a winner!