At last, we reach the end of the long, winding, annoying, aggravating road that was the 2012 election cycle.
First, I will opine but briefly on the presidential race and say: whew! Dodged a bullet on that one. Plus: it succeeded in cheesing off Donald Trump in a huge way, and anytime The Donald is unhappy is cause to smile.
Now, onto the major local races, two of which had the potential for upset victories: the race for State Senate of the Plymouth and Barnstable District, the Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners. In both cases, the incumbents were returned to office by healthy margins.
Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) came within five percentage points of losing to Republican challenger Thomas F. Keyes in 2010, and this time around, despite some solid campaigning by her opponent, Sen. Murray won with 58 percent of the vote to Mr. Keyes’ 41 percent.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Keyes remarked after his concession speech that the reason he lost is because he was out-spent by Sen. Murray. Funny how the winning candidate always thanks his or her supporters, but the loser always blames outside forces for his/her loss, isn’t it? But I digress…
What really cost Mr. Keyes the race is the fact that all he offered was a lot of unremarkable ideas and negativity toward the incumbent. Any given e-mail from the Keyes campaign could be summed up thusly: “Therese Murray did something. Wow, is she corrupt and uncaring! I won’t be, though, so vote for me,” and you need more than knee-jerk gainsaying to win a race.
Then we have the three-way race for two seats on the Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners between incumbents Mary L. (Pat) Flynn of Falmouth and Sheila R. Lyons of Wellfleet, and Eric L. Steinhilber of Barnstable.
The two incumbents deserved to win. They displayed a clearly superior grasp of a wide range of countywide issues, whereas Mr. Steinhilber ran a one-note race, and that note was very, very flat: he anchored his campaign in opposing a “Cape Cod wastewater authority,” a taxpayer-funded regional agency charged with administering a Cape-wide wastewater management plan, which was proposed earlier this year by the Special Commission on County Governance.
That would have been a fine tactic if it weren’t for the fact Mr. Steinhilber himself declared the wastewater authority proposal a dead issue back in August, weeks after Ms. Flynn and Ms. Lyons voiced their formal opposition to the idea. He later resurrected it as his primary campaign talking point, despite the fact no one was disagreeing with him (although he tried awfully hard to make it sound like they were).
I maintain that Mr. Steinhilber has potential as a candidate, and maybe next time around he’ll be more diligent about doing his homework on the issues and will offer a more well-rounded campaign platform (and will be better able to defend his positions when challenged on them).
Thanks for reading, folks, and I’ll see you again in 2014! In the meantime, you can keep up with my ramblings here on my blog.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.