Every election cycle that rolls around we say the same thing, whether in this space or in person to friends and relatives, “If you don’t vote you have no room to complain about the outcome of the election.” Every time! And every time we seem to find a bunch of folks in awe at the outcome of an election, and complaining about the will of the voters.
The voters! The voters are the only ones that count.
Now, that said, from the looks of the will of the voters, there were a whole lot of folks that found themselves in shock and awe at the outcome of the June 7 primary results in the District 3 U.S. House race between incumbent Michael Guest and political newbie Michael Cassidy.
When all of the votes were tallied from the first primary Guest, with 22,592 votes, trailed Cassidy, who garnered 22,879 votes, by about 300 votes.
Guest and his supporters were shocked and came out fighting — and spending tons of money in advertising, including a half page in this paper — in the weeks leading up to the runoff.
I think Guest, and those who voted for him, as well as those who just didn’t vote at all but supported him, thought he was a shoe-in for re-election. I mean that’s the way the cookie usually crumbles. The incumbent, with tons of name recognition, and wads of free publicity in the form of press releases and photo opts supporting one position or the other, and of course, a voting record, always wins.
In several television interviews I watched following the June 7th vote — one at what was planned as a victory party — Guest looked kind of like a deer in headlights. His eyes were wide and his anger was very evident.
Who can blame him?
Really, who can blame him? He was supposed to win. Everybody thought he would win. His district includes Rankin County which votes Republican and usually has a massive voter turn-out. Rankin can make or break a candidate. Rankin is his home turf.
But something happened. Or, didn’t happen. Folks didn’t vote.
Fast forward to last week and the runoff election.
Like I said, Guest came out swinging after June 7 and didn’t let up until the last vote was counted June 26. And, my friends, it worked.
Results were still unofficial at this writing, but still the totals were overwhelmingly for the incumbent.
Guest tallied 46,439 votes or 67% in the runoff to Cassidy’s 22,482 votes or 33%. That’s huge!
Look at the results this way. On June 27th Guest garnered more than double the number of votes he got on June 7 — 23,847 more votes — that’s one whopper of an increase in voter turnout.
Not so for the challenger. When all his dirt was slung and cleared — not only him, though, Guest was slinging fast and furiously too — Cassidy’s vote total was 397 votes less than what he got in the first primary. That’s only about a hundred votes more than he won by in the first primary.
One other point. The idea that the incumbent always wins, doesn’t “always” hold true. Rep. Steven Palazzo down south in the Fourth District, pretty much a no-show on the campaign trail, and also under investigation by the Ethics Commission, lost his re-election campaign to Mike Ezell by eight percentage points at 54% to 46%. It was the first time, I think I read, that an incumbent has lost a bid to return to the U.S. House of Representatives since 1962. That’s 60 years of incumbency!
We’ve been telling y’all every votes counts. We mean it. Every single vote can count and you better remember that come November. You just never know what can, or will, happen when it comes to voter apathy.
But don’t worry, we’ll be reminding you again before that time. Always have, always will!
No whining and complaining, please, and thank you in advance!