At some point, this all becomes a joke.
Bob Hackworth has gone and lost another campaign manager. This time it’s the charming, enthusiastic Shari Hazlett, who has decided to part ways with the mercurial former mayor of Dunedin. Hazlett was brought into replace Darden Rice, who, after having her own issues with Hackworth, resigned as campaign manager, err, I mean stepped back from her day-to-day responsibilities to serve as just a consultant to the campaign.
This latest development is disappointing on so many levels. First of all, it’s a shame that Hazlett, who had successfully overseen the campaign’s effort to qualify for the ballot by petition, is leaving the campaign a month after signing on.
But what is most disappointing about Hackworth’s performance as a candidate for Pinellas County Commission is that it’s been one misstep after another. Actually it’s worse than people realize.
How bad has it been for Hackworth? Well, let me offer a few anecdotes. In anticipation of his run for the Pinellas County Commission, I advised Bob on a variety of matters and helped lay the groundwork for a possible run. I even helped set up a Facebook page asking people to draft Bob to run for the office.
It was all going along swimmingly. I even came up with Bob’s tagline: A Promise for Pinellas. But then Bob started to make a series of mistakes that forced me to question his capacity to be a successful candidate.
The first mistake was a whopper!
I recommended to Bob that he bid on an item in Creative Loafing’s Holiday Auction, specifically the purchase of the cover of a future issue. My thinking was, for only a few thousand dollars, Hackworth could launch his campaign in a way that had never been done before and would certainly garner the kind of media attention not normally received by a local race.
For weeks, Bob was the highest bidder in th eBay-style online auction. Then, on the final day of bidding, Bob was outbid. So he prepared to make a higher bid, except Hackworth left out a zero when he went to enter his final bid. By this point, bidding had closed and Bob had lost out. The plan for launching the campaign had gone down the drain simply because Bob Hackworth forgot a zero.
From there, it was all downhill. He ruined his own plans for announcing his candidacy at the annual Kennedy-King Dinner by talking to a reporter two days before the event. From what I have been told, he got into disputes over money with at least two graphic designers. Lord knows what really happened between him and Darden.
In light of all of this, is it any wonder why Hackworth got shellacked by Bill Young? Will it be a surprise when he loses just as badly to Susan Latvala? Of course not.
The only surprise left is who Hackworth will convince to come manage his quixotic campaign.