By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
The dubious relevance of national political parties in a local race was highlighted this election year when signs began popping up around Dade County proclaiming, “Republicans for Philip Street.” Street is the Democratic candidate for sheriff, running against Republican contender Ray Cross.
The defection of some Dade elephants to a donkey candidate caused a flurry of angry emails and even a rumor that the larger GOP would take action against the hijacking of the Republic pachyderm on the new signs.
Asked if that was true, Monda Wooten, who admits responsibility for the signs, answered, “Lord, no.” There was nothing the Republican leadership could do about the signs, she said.
Anyway, said Ms. Wooten, during her years as an active Dade Republican, there had always been plenty of support for Street, who was Dade’s sheriff for two decades. She said that when Street was running the local GOP often declined to put up anyone to run against him. Dade had a tradition for voting for the individual, not the party, she said.
“Dade is made up of good, hardworking people,” said Ms. Wooten. Party affiliation here tends to run in waves, she said, with Republicans now outnumbering Democrats as a decade ago Democrats outnumbered Republicans, but: “Locally, in politics here in Dade County, there’s not been an ounce of difference between a Democrat and a Republican,” she said.
The Sentinel asked Angela Young, the chairperson of the local Republican party, for comment. In reference to the kidnapping of the Republican mascot, Ms. Young said she could not answer what if anything the state or district party leadership might do.
And as to the rift the Street signs had caused in the local party, she denied that one existed, then continued in an email that seemed to modify if not belie that denial:
“The Dade GOP supports our Republican candidates. A small group of individuals have always tried to bully other officers, candidates, and even at times elected officials to meet their specific misguided personal agendas. As Chairman I will not be bullied and I am proud of the other officers in our party that have stood their ground. The Dade GOP is moving forward in the right direction and I encourage others that have stayed away because of these individuals to return to our next meeting on the fourth Tuesday in November at Randy’s at 6 p.m.”