— New Martin County Commissioner Anne Scott, the first Jupiter Islander to run for and win a commission seat, showed grace, humor and genuine backbone when her race turned mean. Responding to nasty cartoon postcards from the locally financed Future Political Action Committee depicting her as “Queen Anne,” Ms. Scott lamented that opponents consider her “too old to be a princess.”
Then she phoned the local businessmen who contribute to the Future PAC to confront them — and learned many did not know that failure to check a box on contributions to the Business Development Board meant part of their money went directly to the PAC. Even an embarrassed local newspaper publisher had to rescind an inadvertent donation.
Ms. Scott also survived an anonymous mailing directed at Jupiter Islanders only. Details of a court case dealing with a family estate were sent to residents in an unmarked envelope with a printed note asking “This is your candidate?”
Gallery owner and Island resident John W. Payson suggested residents throw the letter in the trash and vote for Ms. Scott anyway. She trounced incumbent Patrick Hayes in the Aug. 14 primary and won 77 percent of the vote to defeat no-party challenger Craig Woll on Tuesday.
— New county commissioner John Haddox showed an early talent for the no-nonsense, get-it-done approach.
Opponent Brandon Tucker suggested Mr. Haddox, Martin’s veterans services officer, might be violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in partisan political activities.
The county finances the veterans office, but in 2007 the office received a federal grant to buy an 18-passenger van to take vets to medical appointments. The county no longer owns the vehicle. Mr. Haddox immediately asked the feds to rule on the issue. He was cleared in a few days.
Mr. Haddox won the primary and takes office Nov. 20, creating, with Ms. Scott and commissioners Sarah Heard and Ed Fielding, a new careful growth majority on the county commission.
— That true maverick, Sheriff Bob Crowder, stands up for his beliefs no matter what his fellow Republicans say about his refusal to toe the party line. The sheriff lost to Allen West in the Republican primary after a contentious race for the new U.S. House District 18 seat. Mr. West not only refused to debate Mr. Crowder but also wouldn’t shake his hand. The sheriff and his wife Debbie then endorsed Democrat Patrick Murphy and Mrs. Crowder hosted a fund raiser for him. Local Republicans are still smarting from Mr. Crowder’s endorsement of Democrat Alex Sink over Republican Rick Scott in the governor’s race two years ago.
— Patrick Murphy’s drop-in at feminist Gloria Steinem’s talk at Stuart’s Lyric Theatre may have won him some crossover Republican votes in Martin. Though Mr. West took 57 percent of the Martin vote, Mr. Murphy won 32,486 votes in the county. Mr. Murphy’s supporters were hoping for 40 percent, so winning more than 42 percent exceeded expectations. Martin has only 27,000 registered Democrats, so Republicans and Independents added to his total. That’s a hopeful sign for a more balanced future in all-Republican-all-the-time Martin.
—The Guardians and former county commissioner Maggy Hurchalla are two heroes of this election cycle. The Guardians, who defend the county’s protective growth plan, are non-partisan. But their excellent TV ads — “Love what you have, then vote to protect it” — captured what “the Martin County difference” is all about. See their ads here.
Ms. Hurchalla spent hours researching and debunking myths about economic development that local businessmen paid a consultant to produce. With the election over, Ms. Hurchalla moves forward with plans to update and repair the county’s protective growth plan.
As entertaining as election festivities have been this last year, the real fun lies ahead. On Nov. 20, the roles reverse. The careful growth gang takes the driver’s seat and the business-growth industry crowd sits in the back of the bus complaining.
Sally Swartz is a former member of The Post Editorial Board. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
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