Less than ten days before the August 28 primary elections, the Gannett corporation owned Tallahassee Democrat gave local Democrat Party candidates free advertising by publishing the party affiliations of all candidates running for nonpartisan offices.
In theory, in nonpartisan elections the goal is for candidates to be judged on her or his own merits rather than as a member of a political party. Unlike partisan elections, no political affiliation is shown on the ballot next to a candidate.
However, the Tallahassee Democrat has decided to ignore this nonpartisan goal in a voting jurisdiction where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 108,000 to 57,000.
In an article by Jeff Burlew titled, “The partisan guide to the nonpartisan races in Tallahassee and Leon County,” the Tallahassee Democrat has provided thousands of dollars of free advertising for all local Democrat candidates by publishing a detailed list of party affiliations for candidates running for nonpartisan offices.
This is the same Tallahassee Democrat that recently decided not to “formally” endorse political candidates.
It used to be that candidates and political parties would have to spend campaign monies to make partisanship an issue in nonpartisan elections. The success of their efforts often were determined by the credibility of the campaign and the efficiency of their efforts.
Now the Tallahassee Democrat has decided to aid the Democrat Party.
It would not be surprising to see Democrat Party political operatives photo copying the Tallahassee Democrat story and handing it out to voters as they approach voting locations. This would take the place of the home made “slates” that campaigns traditionally produced to promote Democrat Party candidates in nonpartisan elections.