Continuing our series on local politics and elections, I saw another sign today that sparked my interest. While traveling down Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg, I came across an encampment of yard signs fluttering in the breeze. Several were in support of Coffman for Council, others were for Baxter for school board, but a few were different. Rather than encouraging citizens to vote for a candidate, it tells folks to vote against Carolyn Frank.
Strangely, as you can see, they do not bear the paid for and authorized tag line that other political signs display. When I saw more of the signs on Neff Avenue as well, I stopped a local business to learn a bit more. Although on their shopping center property, the business knew nothing of the signs. They did not authorize them and did not know who placed them there. Obviously some person or persons have a very strong dislike of Frank in order to go to such lengths as spending their own money for the signs.
Two questions linger, who and why. Who made the signs? Why does their creator find Carolyn Frank so objectionable? I found this same question and a rather lengthy discussion on a recent article on hburgnews.com. Apparently, a local developer by the name of Bruce Forbes created them. Their discussion informs us that Mr. Forbes is someone who tries to buy and control politicians. He assisted in Frank’s election efforts several years ago and turned against her when she wasn’t loyal to his designs. Getting back to the signs themselves, although admittedly my knowledge of regarding laws for local elections are a bit shaky, I would expect that, like other political signs, they must bear the “paid for” tag line. If that is indeed an unmet requirement, then the city should remove them as quickly as possible.
If Carolyn Frank, Bruce Forbes, any of their supporters or detractors, or anyone else who has some knowledge of this subject cares to comment further, I’m sure we would be interested in learning more.
Well the dust has settled here in the 26th district. With all precincts reporting in, the winner is…Tony Wilt. Although the official count is not available yet, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections, Wilt captured 65.82% of the vote while Democratic Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner won 29.89% and Independent Carolyn Frank had 4.14%. Voter turnout was rather high in this special election as over 24% of registered voters showed up to cast their ballots. As has been the trend in recent elections, the Democratic candidate won Harrisonburg, although narrowly, by fifty votes. In Rockingham County, Republican voters came out in force giving the Republican candidate an enormous 81.66%!
When you consider current history, all in all, Degner fared a little better than other challengers, such as 2009 House of Delegates Democratic candidate, Gene Hart, and in 2007 when Independent Carolyn Frank launched her first attempt. Then again, the last time this area faced an open seat back in 2005, Matt Lohr won with 53.48% compared to Lowell Fulk’s 46.11%.
So, my earlier adage held true. Whoever wins the Republican primary will win the general election. Even though the Democrats can win the city, the conservative County voters easily overwhelm whatever advantage the Harrisonburg electorate gives. Therefore, barring some major surprise, I expect that Tony Wilt will represent the voters of the 26th in the House of Delegates for as long as he chooses to hold that position. I hope that he will be the strong-willed constitutional conservative leader that the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley deserve. As for the other candidates, I assume that Kai Degner will continue to serve as our Mayor, at least until the city council elections, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes another try for higher office in the near future. And as for Carolyn Frank…well I really don’t know what she was thinking. According to the local paper, she didn’t raise any campaign money in the most recent cycle and I don’t know if she had any sort of coordinated campaign. A humiliating defeat such as the one she just suffered will certainly dampen any of her political prospects.
Congratulations to Mr. Wilt. Please make us proud.