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Victor credits workers // Dunedin commission winner campaigned hard

Published Oct. 16, 2005

Much like a quarterback who had just directed his team to a championship, Tom Anderson spread the credit to his teammates after winning Tuesday's City Commission election. "We worked so hard," Anderson said. "This is what I expected - a landslide. We got out there every day and distributed fliers and talked to people."

Anderson became the city's newest commissioner by a margin of 6 percent over his closest contender. The only precinct he didn't win outright ended in a 1-1 tie.

Anderson attributed his victory to his supporters, who included a core of 50 volunteers.

"We ran a clean, well-managed campaign," said one of Anderson's managers, Roy Hampton, 81.

Six-year veteran commissioner Donald Shaffer was defeated by Anderson and incumbent Paul Braun in the race for two seats. A fourth contender, Michael Feighan, finished far behind.

"It seemed apparent that Anderson would win because he campaigned the hardest," said resident Gus Cooper, 70, who is the host of a local talk show on cable television. "The only question seemed to be which incumbent would be taken out of office."

Feighan said, "His campaign was efficient and powerful. You have to respect a guy for that."

In Anderson's camp, three volunteers, acting as area supervisors, covered the city, Hampton said. The group held weekly executive committee meetings to map out campaign strategy.

A campaign headquarters and red, white and blue campaign buttons and fliers also helped boost Anderson's momentum, Hampton said.

Anderson had spent $3,204 on his campaign as of last week, more than 11 times that of defeated incumbent Shaffer, who had spent $288.

Shaffer said he had such low expenditures because he made a stand in November to reject the name-recognition theory of politics. His decision not to use campaign signs may have lost him the election, though, he said Tuesday.

"I can't think of any other reason why I didn't get votes except that my name was not out there on the streets," Shaffer said. "Many people warned me, but I didn't listen."

Braun, 38, filled an unexpired term two years ago when Manuel Koutsourais ran for mayor.

"I was never confident that I would win," Braun said Wednesday. "I think all of us, including Donald Shaffer, thought he had a seat reserved on the commission."

Anderson took 11 of 12 precincts, including his own, which he shares with Braun and Shaffer.

In that precinct, the votes totaled 462 for Anderson, 392 for Braun, and 259 for Shaffer.

In only one precinct with a large vote total did the order change.

In Mease Manor, the city's largest retirement facility, Anderson was first, Shaffer second and Braun third.

Anderson, 57, a former manager in the federal departments of defense and energy, served for two years on the city's comprehensive plan advisory committee. He worked behind the scenes as a city volunteer until he decided to run for office.

"Anderson was a strong candidate," Commissioner Bob Barber said. "I really do believe that Don's decision not to use campaign signs was a mistake."

Koutsourais said, "The results were sort of a surprise. But the voters have spoken."

Tom Anderson was able to unseat an incumbent Dunedin city commissioner with the help of a campaign organization that drummed up majority support in every major precinct.

Precinct: Neighborhoods Anderson Braun Feighan Shaffer 535: Windemere Apartments, 7 1 0 6 Weathersfield homes 538: Scotsdale subdivision, 237 197 54 178 Union Park Villas, Lake Tiffany 539: Skylock Villas, 191 174 50 148 Dunedin Mobile Manor

540: Edgewater Arms, 276 236 84 192 Trinity College area

545: Golden Crest, Golden 210 169 77 157 Acres mobile home parks,Lake Sperry

546: Heather Hill Villas, 401 289 60 316 Lake Haven Mobile Home Park,

Douglas Arms, Concord Groves,

Mease Manor

547: Whispering Hills 51 39 11 32 548: Palm Lake Village, 238 214 82 156 Amberlea, Heather Ridge,

Ranchwood and Ravenwood


549: San Christopher Villas, Lake310 202 80 181 Highlander Mobile Home Park,

Pinehurst Village, Royal Oak

550: Cedar Creek Mobile Home 168 145 58 133 Park, Idlewild Estates

551: Honeymoon Island, 133 101 22 58 Royal Stewart Arms

552: Harborview Villas, 206 185 62 125 Mediterranean Manors

553: Fairway Estates, 462 392 59 259 St. Andrews Links

554: Brae Moor Lake, Spanish 92 89 28 54 Trails, Waterford homes

555: Chesapeake Apartments 1 1 0 0 561: Country Woods homes, 33 16 7 8 Honeymoon Mobile Home Park

Absentee votes 102 83 30 86 Totals 3,118 2,533 764 2,089