Let me tell you how it will be… Scott Randolph replaces deceased Earl K. Wood for Democratic TAXMAN
Updated below with response from the Jim Huckeba campaign.
For all of the bizarro grave-dancing that did and didn’t occur when 96-year-old Earl K. Wood passed away early Monday – thereby becoming unlikely to fulfill his duties as Orange County Tax Collector should he have won in November – there was an equal amount of shock and awe concerning what the Democrats would do here in the thick of the last three weeks of a contentious election season. Well, that was all solved tonight at a closed meeting of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee when the group’s leadership chose the obvious successor, its chairman Scott Randolph, to ride out the run, with all votes cast for Wood (both on absentee ballots and in forthcoming early/non-early voting) now counting for Randolph. We heard rumors of others who were lining up for the big guy’s position (including former city commissioner Phil Diamond and county commissioner Tiffany Moore-Russell), but Randolph’s ascent probably makes the most sense. If anyone can mobilize the base at this juncture, it’s safe to say it’s the guy who has titular control of the base, after all. The press release is below. The Sentinel beat us to it here. We’ll follow up with more in next week’s issue! EVERYTHING IS CHANGING SO FAST! Hold on.
ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY SELECTS SCOTT RANDOLPH TO REPLACE EARL K. WOOD AS CANDIDATE FOR TAX COLLECTOR
Orlando, FL — The Orange County Democratic Executive Committee has selected Scott Randolph as the replacement candidate for the office of Orange County Tax Collector occasioned by the unfortunate passing of Democratic incumbent, Earl K. Wood, on October 15th, 2012. Pursuant to Florida Statutes 100.111(3)(a), the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee (OCDEC) held a special meeting tonight to designate a nominee to fill the vacancy. The OCDEC membership comprised of almost 100 voting members selected Scott Randolph, who receive credit for all votes cast for Earl. K Wood, including those absentee ballots cast before the replacement was selected.
Representative Scott Randolph was elected to the Florida House in 2006 and served three terms until he decided not to seek re-election earlier this year. He served as the ranking Democratic member of the Finance & Tax Committee in the legislature. Him and his wife Susannah welcomed their first child Hillary Eleanor Randolph in February.
Scott Randolph will be prepared to officially qualify as a candidate for the Office of Orange
County Tax Collector in accordance with state statutes no later than Monday, October 22, 2012.
Naturally, the news didn’t sit well with the folks tying Republican candidate Jim Huckeba’s bowtie around the premise that a man is running for an office that he doesn’t think should even exist. Of particular note in the press release below is Huckeba’s quoted statement that Randolph is an “opportunist”; You may remember (or have read in the link above about Wood’s passing) that Huckeba had the unfortunate task of ending his “Where Is Earl?” signage campaign on the day it was set to begin. The slogan took on a slightly tasteless meaning after Monday morning. We hear that most if not all of the signs have since been taken down. THAT’S POLITICS, FOLKS! Even for the people who are claiming they seek to take “politics out of government.” Read, weep.
Partisan Politics Prove Tax Collector Should Be Eliminated
Orlando, Fla. (October 17, 2012) – Today, Orange County Democrats played party politics in choosing Scott Randolph to replace Earl K. Wood as their nominee for tax collector.
By choosing someone who has not been a proponent of any new ideas, has managed to get the nomination through the death of a long-standing leader and has spent no time developing solutions to improve customer service and examining how to make the office efficient, the message is loud and clear that an elected official has no place in this office.
Working with both sides of the aisle for the last several months, Jim Huckeba has developed a plan to make the office more taxpayer-friendly and to streamline government by eliminating the elected position. His plan calls for the consolidation of the functions of the office into other existing government entities. This will save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“There is no policy and no governance in the Tax Collector’s office,” said Huckeba. “It is purely administrative in nature and needs be eliminated.”
Now, the Democratic Party has hand-picked a highly partisan individual with no knowledge of the Tax Collector’s office who is simply looking for a lifetime salary and benefits without proper vetting by the voters. The Tax Collector’s office is unique in that taxpayers are currently required to make their checks payable to the person who occupies the office. This practice is nothing more than an election stunt designed to develop name recognition and the assurance of a lifetime job.
Huckeba is recommending an end to this election stunt. He will ask citizens to write their checks to the Orange County Tax Collector and will lead the charge to eliminate this practice statewide.
“The citizens of this county have a real opportunity to take politics out of government,” Huckeba says. “Earl K. Wood, before his unfortunate passing this week, served for 46 years. It is wrong to have an opportunist simply use Earl’s good name to get elected to what can easily become a lifetime cushy job, all at taxpayer expense.”
For more information, volunteer opportunities and recent updates about Jim Huckeba and his campaign for Orange County Tax Collector, visit www.huckebafortaxcollector.com