The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are Congressman Clay Shaw and State Senator Ron Klein, the two candidates for congress in the Florida 22nd Congressional district. They get the award for their constantly negative non-issue focused campaign.
These two idiots haven't given voters a single reason to vote for either of them. The flood of television commercials and mailed advertisements have almost never mentioned issues important to voters here. These two aren't worthy of the people living in the Florida 22nd, we deserve better.
Below is one last Sun-Sentinel article on the race. For running negative campaigns and never addressing the issues, Clay Shaw and Ron Klein are today's knuckleheads of the day.
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Boca Raton · Ron Klein and Clay Shaw crisscrossed Broward and Palm Beach counties on Monday, each seeking the personal edge in a race that's been fought mostly through television ads and direct mail.
Shaw, a 26-year Republican congressman from Fort Lauderdale, and Klein, a 14-year Democratic state legislator from Boca Raton, have fought fiercely for 20 months. The result, on the eve of today's voting, was a race that the candidates and their strategists said was too close to call.
"We're running our election as if it's dead even," Klein said. His camp's polling has shown him ahead.
Shaw said his campaign's internal polling has him at 50 percent, slightly ahead of his challenger. "We've got a definite lead, but not enough to sit home," he said.
Almost all the national ratings of congressional races agree it's a tight race. Rothenberg Political Report and the Cook Political Report both label it a tossup. The editors of National Journal's House Race Hotline wrote in their Monday update: "Shaw-Klein is our pick for closest race in the country."
Both candidates professed optimism.
From the Republican: "I feel very good," Shaw said during a break from campaigning. "Even with all the negative ads, I come around and work the tables and people are smiling at me."
From the Democrat: "We're very excited. We've worked very hard," Klein said. "It's been a great campaign. It's been exhilarating meeting thousands of people."
The campaign has been one of the nastiest congressional contests held in South Florida and, as of the end of October, it was the third most expensive race in the nation. But on Monday, the message was generally positive in person and on the air as the candidates sought to sway any remaining undecided independent voters -- the bloc that could tip the race either way.
The 22nd District, which takes in beachside and suburban communities from mid-Broward to the northern end of Palm Beach County, has the second-highest share -- 25 percent -- of independent voters in the state.
At the end of a campaign, Shaw said there's something especially rewarding about coming to a place "where you can just talk to them for a few minutes."
Klein said the personal contact is important.
"At the last stage of the campaign ... you want to have a last chance to say hello, meet as many people as possible, ask them for their vote and encourage them to participate," he said.
Dan Radison, 56, of Deerfield Beach, said he liked meeting Klein at the Olympia Flame Diner in Deerfield Beach.
"He looked me right in the eye, shook my hand. Very forthright in the way he's speaking to me. I can see why he's done well," Radison said.
He said he definitely would vote today, but hadn't decided between Klein and Shaw. He planned to research the candidates on the Internet on Monday night.
Along the campaign trail Monday, the candidates picked up something more valuable than an isolated vote or two from people eating at a diner or playing cards at a senior center: television and newspaper pictures showing them interacting with average folks.
First Shaw, then Klein, visited the Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, where the candidates interrupted flu shots, card playing and group storytelling.
Shaw was a hit at the storytelling session for seniors, describing the scene he remembered as a young boy when World War II ended. An hour after Shaw left, Klein arrived.
Though great for pictures, it wasn't ideal for votes. Several of those at the center -- including Mitzie Sandler, of Boca Raton -- said they weren't eligible to vote because they live outside the 22nd District or vote in other states where they live part-time.
Lois Jackson, 81, who lives west of Boca Raton outside the district, was at the center on Monday. She said a candidate's visit while she was playing cards wasn't enough to undo the negative "scuttlebutt" she's seen in both sides' television ads.
Both candidates were doing something else that was different as the campaign ended: airing positive television spots. The idea was to leave a positive impression in voters' minds after months of negative TV ads, many funded by the national Democratic and Republican party organizations fighting for control of Congress.
"There are back-to-back-to-back-to-back negative ads and people don't want to see that right now," said Gail Gitcho, Shaw's press secretary.
Klein said it's important to end on a positive note. "People want to know what you stand for. People are tired of negative campaigning. They want to know who you are, what you think and what you stand for," he said.
The end of the campaign means an end to the negative ads. "Wednesday, you can let your children watch television again," Shaw said.
Labels: Knucklehead of the Day