Before I go into my congratulatory mode, I want to talk about what went wrong for the two candidates that lost yesterday.
First, Mr. DeBoer. I have to be truly honest with you, I don’t think there was much more that Zach could have done to beat Soehl. I know that he attempted to get Tom Hurlbert’s endorsement, but that was sticky situation for Tom, and probably the reason why he declined. Tom has a successful architecture business and I think it would have been difficult for him to throw his weight behind either Curt or Zach because of those business connections. Hurlbert did the right thing by staying out of the endorsement game. I think where Curt succeeded was garnering the Union support. While he did raise a lot more money than Zach, I didn’t really see where he spent that money in a productive manner.
While Paul claimed he ran a â€˜clean campaign’ from all appearances he did. Nothing came negative directly from him or his inner circle. Where the â€˜dirty’ campaigning came from was NOT from his â€˜tool box’. It came from the Sioux Falls GOP. They sent out nasty emails painting Jolene as a crazy liberal. Also, the endorsement from the Family Heritage Alliance should have been declined by TenHaken, as well as taking money from toddlers. While Paul may claim he personally kept it clean, that is really a fine line considering he could have informed the GOP to stay out of the race. By allowing them to throw the â€˜dirt’ and letting the AG put out a misleading press release (the investigation is NOT done yet folks) Paul really did participate in â€˜dirty campaigning’ even if he tries to distance himself from it.
Loetscher’s campaign certainly had it’s flaws. From the beginning of the runoff campaign I felt like Jo’s work was cut out for her. After the Argus put out a map showing where the TenHaken support was coming from it was clear to me she needed to put an army of volunteers together knocking on doors in â€˜the red hook’ talking about bread and butter issues like infrastructure, property taxes and business experience. She also needed to reassure the people who voted for her to stay the course, and she needed to massage Anderson’s supporters a little bit.
She also reacted poorly to accusations. She should have just ignored them and never brought up the hacking or voicemail. I still think she was â€˜framed’. I don’t think the tone of the VM was the issue, it was the fact that Paul left it to begin with. She also should have called the AG’s office and politely ripped them a new one about the premature press release and demanded a retraction. I think it would have just been best if Jo didn’t respond at all to the tricks, but she walked right into the GOP’s trap, hook, line and sinker. This comes from the inexperience of running for such a big position. She should have also hired an independent campaign advisor with NO ties to either political party or just ran the campaign herself with her husband. If she would have I think a lot of the rhetoric coming from the Right would have fallen on deaf ears. I have often encouraged friends who run for city, county or school board positions to register independent before doing so. If you are running for a non-partisan position, you should do it as a non-partisan.
Tenhaken and Soehl ran strong campaigns and deflected criticism well
Â I will have to hand it to both of them, the dirt didn’t stick.
Besides the fact that the only dirt on Soehl was his business huckster donor list, which most people don’t pay attention to. He really didn’t have any barbs thrown his way. Besides, what would they have been anyway? As a retired firefighter he had a good resume and image. I do think Soehl can do the job, and it will be interesting to see if he will join the rubberstamp club or be his own voice. I do know that Soehl was NOT afraid to share his opinion during campaigning, and I hope he stays an independent voice moving forward though I still do worry about his donor list. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he votes on the big things concerning our city. I think he is an intelligent person and will give a different perspective, or least I hope he does.
TenHaken has a knack of just brushing things off. That is NOT a bad quality, strong leaders need this appeal. I can also say in my 45 minute conversation with Paul, he intently listened, rarely interrupting, I also hope he continues to listen to the public not just bloggers or the media. This is an area where Huether failed, big time. He had no time for the public’s opinion. Huether is the reason Public input is such a mess, his resistance to the public’s opinion is deplorable and disrespectful. I also think Paul can build a good team, I’m hoping it is not to partisan or religious. He must be the mayor to all people, not just the ones that voted for him or didn’t vote at all. I hope he understands that.
Paul has also made a lot of promises about transparency and embracing diversity, he needs to stick to those promises. I believe that transparency was the #1 issue in this municipal election cycle and if Paul fails on that level I think the council and the public with push back on him hard, and it won’t be a pretty site.
There are many things in Paul’s past that concern me, and like I have said before, people don’t automatically change after they take the oath, we saw that with 8 years of Mr. Nightmare himself. They might even get worse once the power goes to their head. I also hope that Paul works side by side with the council and the media to let the sunshine in, and if he does uncover misdeeds in the previous administration he shares that with the public. You can’t fix mistakes of the past by covering them up, that will just blow up in your face. We only have to look to the siding settlement fiasco as proof. I hope Paul and the council take a good hard look at the city’s finances before moving forward with any major budget decisions.
I will also say this in closing about Paul, I think he is prepared for the job, I think he enjoys challenges and I also genuinely think he cares about people, not sure what the scope of those people are though.
I wish him and Curt well moving forward, 2018 is going to be an exciting time to watch the new administration and council take shape, and as I understand it, lines in the sand are already being drawn on the council before the two new members are even sworn in. Detroit Lewis is going to be a very busy guy over the next couple of months, I’m going to try to embrace the journey and bitch a little less. I know, good luck with that.