Pasco Commissioner Ted Schrader won re-election to a third term last week. It might have escaped your attention, but that is the practical outcome of a write-in candidate's decision to withdraw from the race.
On Friday, John Taylor of Lutz notified the Supervisor of Elections Office he was dropping his candidacy. It was bogus to begin with, intended only as a way to assist Republican challenger John Nicolette to disenfranchise Democrats and independents from voting in the District One commission race Aug. 26.
With no Democratic candidate, Taylor's write-in candidacy limited the primary to Republican voters only.
Nicolette's ploy to recruit Taylor — a man who had never voted in more than 20 years of living in Pasco County, but who did buy property from Nicolette and contributed to his unsuccessful campaign — was indicative of a candidate fearful of having his platform and actions scrutinized by more than the no-new-taxes wing of the Republican Party. Those who did vote answered Nicolette's unrelenting negative advertising and underhanded campaign tactics by selecting Schrader by a nearly 58-42 ratio.
The Supervisor of Elections Office already has shipped 22,000 absentee ballots and ordered the printing of its paper ballots for the Nov. 4 general election. That means voters will see a ballot that includes Schrader's name and then a line for a write-in candidate. Taylor's decision to withdraw makes any voter action in that race irrelevant.
If nothing else, Nicolette and Taylor have spared Schrader the time and energy of continuing to campaign and to educate voters they still needed to select the two-term incumbent in November. It was the right thing to do.
Waving the white flag might be the first honorable activity from Nicolette in the 2008 campaign.