September 25, 2022
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Primary observations: Breaking down a seismic shift in Tallahassee politics

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Tallahassee City Hall Building Exterior Thursday, May 9, 2019

There is a seismic paradigm shift in electioneering underway here in Tallahassee.  Paradigm shifts have occurred in the 1980s with the rise of an endorsing Leon County Democratic Party, in the 2000s with the ascension of professional political consultants, and now it is happening in 2022.

Whether one agrees with what is happening or not, this is as exciting to a retired campaign manager as a volcanic eruption at Yellowstone’s caldera would be to a volcanologist.

Here are the highlights of the changes to be followed by an opinion of what it means.

  • City Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter are vigorously campaigning for Adner Marcelin against fellow Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox. County Commissioner Kristin Dozier is challenging Mayor John Dailey. The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce crowd is after Matlow.
  • Major sums of out of county and out of state contributions have arrived to support various candidates. The funds are being spent by political committees which openly report their contributors and expenditures and by committees that do not share that information with the public.
  • The combined financial might of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, major developers, construction companies, and their interconnected social elites, are under serious pressure in their effort to keep a sympathetic majority of city commissioners.
  • ·We have also seen in this race the growth of independent political action committees and self-funded media outlets. The role of these groups is to be the provocateur which allows the candidate they are supporting to pretend they are innocent of the character assassination attempted by these groups. 
  • Max Herrle is a new political force in town. He is a maestro playing the Cavaillé-Coll at Notre Dame d’Auteuil. In this case his fingers and feet are playing a concerto of existing and new political committees rather than one of the largest pipe organs in the world.
Max Herrle

Herrle is a person of interest to me. He is shaking up the established order of electioneering here in town. He has run a couple of successful campaigns here in Tallahassee. He has created what I call a bastion from which he can now export a new way of campaigning here in town.

Herrle runs this entire operation from a single office. From there he can contact vendors to create mail, digital, and electronic campaign messages. He is a focal point which receives contributions and distributes services and operates an electioneering website to boot.



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