Friday, September 02, 2005

Mayoral Race splits Democrats

A couple of Pinellas County's most successful Democratic politicians are in hot water with some party activists for backing the re-election of Republican St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. The controversy over County Commissioners Calvin Harris and Ken Welch comes as some Democrats saw their local party finally getting past its history of disfunctional infighting.

The matter serves as a reminder of why Tom Slade was such a successful state GOP chairman in the 1990s. When a similar controversy erupted among Pinellas Republicans in 1997, he put it in perspective: "I couldn't give two hoots in hell about these kinds of issues," he said. "Quite frankly, they don't affect the outcome of elections at all."

The spat also raises an intriguing question: If Harris and Welch are booted out of the local Democratic Executive Committee would that amount to a punishment or reward?


  • At 9:50 AM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous said…

    Helm should focus on why he would be a better mayor - not on who is being endorsed by which politician - - - waste of time and energy

  • At 12:24 PM, September 02, 2005, Adam C. Smith said…

    The e-mailed sentiments of another Democrat, Pinellas Park mayoral candidate Randy Heine:

    I disagree with your headline "Mayoral contest splits party", we Democrats are not split but rather unified on the rules. The party oath basically states that Democrats shall not support Republicans.
    In this particular instance I stand firm with Ed Helm that Mr. Harris and Mr. Welch violated their party oath. These two men are "uncle toms" and just wear the badge of a Democrat to get elected. They patronize their own race for self gain and their districts have be gerrymandered so that they can have token seats on the County Commission. Whatever happened to being fair and just drawing districts according to population and natural boundaries?
    My vote is to expel both of these "traitors" from our Democratic Executive Board at our next meeting on September 27th.

    Yours in a fair government,

    Randy "Bulldog" Heine
    Candidate for Mayor of Pinellas Park (March 2006)
    "The Taxpayer Candidate for Mayor"

    ps. I am sending Ed Helm a $100.00 campaign contribution today, because Democrats support Democrats.

  • At 12:55 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous said…

    Tom Slade was the best Party chairman in America in the 90's. Learn from the best, idiots.

  • At 1:02 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous said…

    Waa waaa waaa...

    Isn't the Dem party a big supporter locally of non-partisan races at the local level???

    So why are they so burned that 2 memebers chose to support the current Mayor in a NON PARTISAN RACE?? Sounds like a heaping helpin of hypocrisy from the party that purports to represnet "the people".

    This is right up there with the party support of a "non partisan" commission to redistrict..more smoke and mirros t try to get back into power.

  • At 1:21 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous said…

    1:02 Anon
    I won't label the entire Republican party by your actions if you don't label the entire Democratic Party by these few

  • At 1:44 PM, September 02, 2005, Jim said…

    Slade is dead on, and Pinellas Democrats would be wise to heed his past advice, rather than engage in just another circular firing squad.

  • At 2:34 PM, September 02, 2005, St Pete Republican said…

    I don't understand this at all. Rick Baker is a marginal republican at best. His agenda is growing the size of St Pete's government. He makes Susan Latvala look conservative. He championed gay pride events in his city and happily supported the resolution giving gay people special rights in St Pete (the human rights ordinance). No one can remember him coming around Republican circles. He doesn't show unless the cameras are there. Baker feels free to support Democrats in partisan races,he should join them.
    Rick Baker will never be elected to congress. He should enjoy his run as mayor. It will be his last office.

  • At 4:43 PM, September 02, 2005, Anonymous said…

    I agree with st pete republican, we are stuck with Baker because Helm is so lame. I would perfer we get rid of both of them. Baker is arrogant, moody and a big oaf. He has gotten the best building boom in 40 years and we still have the highest property taxes in the county. My kingdom for a conservative.

  • At 6:49 PM, September 02, 2005, St Pete Conservative said…

    It's funny how the man who ran Nader's county campaign in 2000 is now demanding the loyalty of Democrats especially after trying to tear them apart. Only scoundrels and hypocrites wrap themselves in a banner. Helm has the party because he doesn't have anything else going for him.

    Rick Baker is about as conservative as Omali Yeshitela. If he was a -real- conservative we would have a police chief who enforced the law investigating his own department for alleged racism, criminals who got jail time instead of scholarships and gyms named after them, and much lower property taxes.

    He's just a tax and spend liberal Republican.

  • At 2:39 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous said…

    I couldn't agree more with your opinion of Rick Baker as a tax and spend liberal. He loves big government. I can't tell you how let down I am by his job as mayor. I voted for him last time because he was billing himself as a republican, but I'm not voting for him this time. Baker talks a good game as a republican but he is a liberal. I don't like the deception.At least with Helm I will get a real liberal who admits it, not a pretender like Baker. I want political honesty over ideaism!

  • At 4:40 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous said…

    I do not blame the commissioners for supporting Mayor Baker. They have their careers to think about and being associated with someone like Ed Helm is political suicide. Everyone that has ever encountered Ed Helm knows he is a joke. He will lose control or go off his meds and botch anything he touches. His candidacy is as big a joke as he is. His group the Pinellas Progressives kicked him out for being too crazy. Now he wants to start a group that would be a shadow democratic party, this man takes liberalism and lunacy to a whole new level.

  • At 4:44 PM, September 03, 2005, Anonymous said…

    I do not fault the commissioners for supporting Mayor Baker. They have careers to think about and being associated with someone like Ed Helm would be political suicide. Ed Helm gives a new meaning to liberalism and lunacy. He was kicked out of Pinellas Progressives and is now trying to start a shadow democratic party. Who could conceivable ever take Ed Helm as anythinbut a nut?


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