Monday a week ago the Hancock County GOP held a meeting at the home of a local member. The meeting was very well attended and it’s aftermath immediately caused a stir locally and by 8AM on Tuesday the 23rd Slabbed had already received the first reports of this extraordinary gathering and by close of business Wednesday Slabbed had heard directly from a couple of local GOP party members that were in attendance. Comments alluding to it were left on this website, culminating in this post from last week.
Fresh off working for Mayor Fillingame’s campaign, local political operative Rhonda Gamble was there at the meeting and it was her presentation that had tongues wagging. To understand what she was offering to the Wards 4, 5 and 6 GOP nominees for the Bay City Council let’s visit with a national story from last week which ran in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):
How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative ~ Alexandra Berzon and Rob Barry
Later, going through what the hacker sent as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean,” the GOP consultant said he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”
The episode shows how the hacker’s activities extended to exposing Democrats’ get-out-the vote strategies in swing states and informing a Trump ally of hacked data during the national campaign.
DCCC documents sent to Mr. Nevins analyzed specific Florida districts, showing how many people were dependable Democratic voters, how many were likely Democratic voters but needed a nudge, how many were frequent voters but not committed, and how many were core Republican voters—the kind of data strategists use in planning ad buys and other tactics.
The Journal reviewed these documents as well as Democratic voter analyses also sent to Mr. Nevins about congressional districts in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
In Bay St Louis we are not talking about hacking or other cyber crimes. But the information the Fillingame campaign, via Ms. Gamble, shared at that meeting was exactly the kind of voter intel that costs time and money to develop in lists of what I’d term Chronic voters, Nudge Voters and “Don’t waste your time potential voters”. One source in attendance described the information being shared by the Fillingame campaign as super high quality. The same sources all indicated that it was also announced that Miss Gamble would henceforth be taking point for the GOP Candidate’s campaigns in the Wards 4, 5 and 6 races.
It has been mentioned a time or two over the past month here on Slabbed that the Mayor’s race was being fought on two fronts, first between the Mayoral candidates and then in the Council races as perceived Fillingame Administration friendly candidates qualified under the GOP banner in the majority of the various Wards against current council members that stood up to the Mayor’s profligate spending.
Wards 4 and 6 drew multiple GOP council candidates and that was the fly in the ointment. In Ward 6, candidate Hunter Adam was persuaded to drop out of the GOP Council primary with the promise of a City job in a series of events that was very accurately documented by Solid Waste Enforcement Officer Tommy Kidd.
Ward 4 was not so easily resolved as newcomer Kyle Lewis has a professional career that would far exceed the kind of job the Mayor could promise him. The GOP primary in Ward 4 resulted in Larry Smith winning by one vote with about 120 total voters in that primary. Those were votes that could never vote on the Democrat side for Mayor and therein lies the beauty of the strategy of running Fillingame friendly council candidates on the GOP side without primary competition as everyone could vote in the Democrat Mayoral primary. This strategy ultimately did not work out well for Hizzoner.
The two front political battle using the opposing political party to run the Mayor’s political allies is a pretty sharp move in my opinion. But it also strongly implies that the same group of people control both parties in Hancock County, which is not a good thing IMHO. As for the supposed ideological differences between the parties that less aware partisans prattle away hours arguing about online, I see none of that here. This is all about who controls the sovereign power of the City, not ideological differences.
To those that have been watching closely, none of the above is big revelation but the old saying politics makes for strange bedfellows is a time tested old adage that certainly applies to the 2017 Bay Municipal elections. In a few days we’ll all find out who gets to reign supreme for the next four years.