Last week we were told about alleged water cooler whispering taking place at the Columbia County Government Complex. Allegedly, Lee Benedict of Martinez was at the Board of Elections office asking about candidacy procedures for County Commissioner which in his case is District 2. Since this was alleged, we sent Benedict an email seeking confirmation or denial. Below is the exchange (interesting):
from Fiscal Conservative firstname.lastname@example.org
date Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 2:05 PM
The whisper around the CC government complex is that you will challenge Trey Allen in the District 2 GOP primary next year, and that you have visited the elections office. This is what was told to us, and we would like to know if it is true and if you have anything to say about this. Thank you for your time.
Columbia County Conservative Viewpoint
from Lee Benedict
to Fiscal Conservative <email@example.com>
date Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:06 AM
subject Re: candidacy
“The whisper around the CC government complex”? Is there a Benedict watch taking place? I am flattered, but, not knowing who you are (and having read many of your stories, I do understand why you wish to remain ghostwriters), I wonder if you are keeping tabs on me and others. What made you think that I was in the Board of Elections?
I really have no comment on the matter other than I have not filed a Declaration of Intent to Accept Campaign Contributions for the race you asked about or any other race, nor have I decided to seek that office or any other office now or in the future. I will tell you that a few people have spoken with me about seeking a local office. My personal view on the matter is, until redistricting matters are done and official, it is far too early to entertain questions about seeking a specific office. All of that said, regarding your GOP primary comment, that is a reasonable inference, but presumptuous. Columbia County has proven that “being a Republican” means absolutely nothing, or, does not make one conservative and honorable. So there is no guarantee that I will run as a Republican as the Republican Party has left me and others. You guys, you girls, you guys and girls, you guys and girl, you girls and guy, have written extensively on the topic, and I am as bothered as you, and I do not appreciate being asked to remove a link to your first (I think) story from my very own personal Facebook page because some people did not like it. Damn. That was some I really have no comment on the matter. Seriously, no more comments. When the maps have been drawn, send another message my way and I could have more to say then.
We find this very interesting for so many reasons. Benedict didn’t file an “intent card” and says he has not decided if he will seek any office. What he didn’t say was, he did not go to the elections office. We’re not saying that he did, but he did not deny it either.
He disclosed that he has been approached “about seeking a local office”, and in this case, District 2’s election is next year which is the only local office scheduled to be contested in the near future…if you consider 2012 the near future.
Did we read what you read? Did Benedict say that he may not run as a Republican if he were to run? Could you blame him? Could a non-Republican get elected in Columbia County? Vernon Thomas almost did, and we think that Benedict could defeat Trey Allen in District 2. We reported in an earlier piece that more than one person was being recruited, and that they were being recruited by some Springlakes residents. What if Allen received a Republican challenger and Benedict qualified as an Independent, or (longshot) a Democrat? If Allen won the Republican primary, he would have Benedict and/or someone else to face in November, and chances are that Allen would limp into the general election, and for someone like Allen who has never had an opponent and can’t tolerate views different than his, he could and should be a one and done. This is fun to discuss and wonder what if, but it could very well happen. Since we’re discussing it, would Brian Slowinski qualify anyone other than Allen in 2012? Does he have that authority?
Back to the topic now. For someone like Benedict to tell us that we shouldn’t automatically think that he will run as a Republican, should make the local party think about what he said. Ronald Reagan said that he did not leave the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party left him. We think that the people of Columbia County are now ready to look beyond party affiliation and vote for the person because this crop of Columbia County Republicans is so irresponsible and without conservative principles, that a solid conservative non-Republican can win, especially against Allen. We will definitely be discussing this down the road.