Clermont, FL - Wed., Aug. 8, 2012
Update: August 9, 2012 - Debbie Stivender, who was mentioned below, sent a response - see end of document. vj
Yesterday evening was the South Lake County Hob Nob where local elected candidates setup tables and brochures and talked to interested voters. The voters each had a ticket to trade for an election ballot which they then filled out in a straw poll. This Hob Nob was arranged by the South Lake Chamber of Commerce, led by Ray San Fratello, who sent us these official results from 331 voters.
Before you read the results, here are some caveats you need to know, which indicate you can't take the results as a TRUE vote, but only a popularity vote based upon who got the most friends to go to the event and vote for them:
- Each candidate received six tickets to give to supporters. However, we know one candidate not only had those six tickets, but had three supporters contact the chamber and get 10 more tickets each for supporters, thus they had 36 tickets to give to supporters.
- Long time incumbents know each other and make side agreements to have their supporters vote for each other. So rumors are that supporters of Debbie Stivender and Sherrif Borders voted for each other, and at the prior Leesburg Hob Nob, supporters of Ed Havill and Emogene Stegall voted for each other. New candidates don't always know this is going on.
- Hob Nobs have different rules which experienced candidates know how to benefit from. The Leesburg Hob Nob cost $12-15 to attend, thus only motivated active candidate supporters go, plus candidates can buy as many tickets as they want and give them to supporters, thus you always see a huge crowd of Sheriff Candidate supporters wearing T-Shirts. The Clermont Hob Nob limits excessive tickets (but see above how it can be circumvented) while the Leesburg event does not. Additionally, the Leesburg event allows supporters to congregate in front of the candidate table and network with anyone anywhere while wearing T-shirts, but the Clermont event prohibited each, and also would not let candidates stand in front of their table and wander the hall to nab prospects (well, except for Jim Miller, who is nicknamed "The Wanderer").
- Clermont had much better food becuase they lined up sponsors who paid for everything. But they limited access to the event by requiring tickets which had to be picked up at the Chamber offices. Thus, experienced candidates locked up all the tickets a week before the event, so when the press published a notice or political parties notified members, the tickets were all taken, again, giving an edge to the experienced candidates.
So, not that you know how the Hob Nobs really work, don't place too much credence in the scores unless there is an upset. For instance, Republican Margie Eaton got 43% of the vote to 42% for incumbent Democrat Emogene Stegall. However, the mix of results seems to indicate that there were about 70 Democrats (or 22%) voting for Val Demings vs about 241 or 77% Republicans and NPA's voting for Daniel Webster for Congress. About the same ratio existed for Senator Bill Nelson and Barack Obama votes. Thus Democrats (or the ones supporting them) were not a major factor in this Hob Nob. More people voted for Val Demings (69) than voted for Bill Nelson (61) or Barack Owebama (63).
Kudos to the Clermont Chamber for providing a decent voting guide (paid for by ads and donors) and also allowing a vote on all the upcoming Amendments. Observers think the results from this Hob Nob are less distorted than the results of the earlier Leesburg HobNob because Clermont has better procedures to minimize experienced candidates implementing biased tactics.
Here are the results in pdf format from the original excel worksheet.
Two pages - One is candidate results, the other is the Ameindment results.
Response received from Debbie Stivender Aug. 8th, which appears to indicate she did not have a side deal with another candidate... she mentions "proofing" my work - that is why I said rumor - this is an opinion column - vj
Thank you for forwarding this information. You might want to proof your work before sending out to the masses, as well as not make assumptions on rumors.