Escambia County Pensacola Politics

Six lessons to take from Nov. 6 election

November 7, 2012

1. Negative campaigns still don’t work in local races. Hugh King and his handlers did everything they could to  discredit Lumon May, including creating a website called Lumon Lies. Mike Whitehead ran a negative campaign against Tax Collector and also failed to win. Voters want to be given reasons to vote for a candidate, not listen to conspiracies and wild allegations.

2. The Whitehead-McNesby-Touart triumvirate is dead politically. The three can not win a political race or get anybody elected with their endorsements. Here is their history over the past four years:

2008: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan 57% Ron McNesby 43%

2008: Escambia County Commission Wilson Robertson 81% Mike Whitehead 19%

2010: Escambia County Commission Gene Valentino 34% Karen Sindel 32% Dave Murzin 23% George Touart 11%

2012: Escambia County Tax Collector Janet Holley 69% Mike Whitehead 31%

The county commissioners have clearly put their credibility and political careers at risk by naming Touart the interim county administrator. The voters don’t like these guys, even when one of them runs against a Democrat.

3. The African-American community sent another signal it wants young, progressive leadership that can build the coalitions and attract the resources necessary to improve their neighborhoods. The ministers and Lumon May had yet another victory over the old black guard that backed Hugh King in the county commission race against Lumon May. The worst thing that happened to the King campaign was that there was an election—-until the vote, King could act like he was powerful and relevant. King even placed behind Republican newcomer Tiffany Washington.

Lumon May 71% Tiffany Washington 21% Hugh King 7% Dooley Johnson 2%

4. African-American incumbents can’t run solely on their name any more. They have to campaign and meet the voters. John Jerralds raised no money, did little campaigning and found himself trailing newcomer Gerald Wingate by 45 votes last night. There will be a recount and all the absentees may not have been counted, but this another blow to Jerralds, the old guard and the Pensacola Voice, who supported Jerralds and King.

5.  Gene Valentino didn’t have the political clout to get Hugh King or Packy Mitchell elected. He and Wilson Robertson have lost their control over the Escambia County Commission.

6. If Gerald Wingate’s victory holds, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, who stayed out of the council races, will have very new council to deal with – Charles Bare, Andy Terhaar, Jewel Cannada-Wynn and Wingate.  Clearly the voters want a different city council but there is no clear mandate from these elections whether the voters are in favor or against the mayor’s initiatives.


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