I miss you, Special Election

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It’s been more than a week since Special Election left my life and it just hasn’t been the same since.

After Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th Congressional District last Tuesday, life was suppose to return to normal.

The direct mail stopped arriving. The grainy, black-and-white television commercials are no longer on the air. The yard signs have been trashed. 

Yet, I can’t get Special Election out of my mind. Like the Led Zepplin song said, I can’t quit you, baby.

Oh sure, I’ve been involved before in relationships with General Election, Local Election, and Presidential Election, but nothing as torrid as the affair with Special Election.

Just as there are May-December romances, this was a November-to-March affair to remember.

When you’re involved with Special Election, it’s as if the whole world revolves around you.

By definition, Special Election is one conducted all by itself. There is no top-of-the-ballot, no down-ballot, there’s just you and your choice for U.S. representative. 

Everyone else running in Primary Election or General Election looks on with envy because all of the attention is on Special Election. It’s like dancing in the middle of a grand ballroom. 

Meanwhile, Chuck Todd mentions Special Election every day on MSNBC. The New York Times and the Washington Post dispatch their grizzled best to inform the rest of the world how this Special Election is a bellwether for everything else political. 

It’s heady stuff.

Like a celebrity wedding, millions of dollars are spent on Special Election without a moment’s regret. The answer to every request is “Yes” or, better yet, “More.”

The political consultants, already expecting to build a vacation home with the earnings from General Election, can now furnish said vacation home with the money they made during Special Election. The local television stations made enough on the ads to build some new, ungodly weather radar system, which is what television stations seem to do when they are flush with cash.

Everyone makes out. The print shops and the paid spokespersons. The staffers and the sign makers. The newspapers, with their expanded coverage and increased web traffic, and the websites, blinking with a blinding array of digital ads.

Social media buzzes, despite the fake outrage from some about “When will it all stop?!” Blogs blog, Facebook adds friends, and Twitter tweets. For a moment, Special Election was its own hashtag.

And then, as expected, the finite nature of Special Election reveals itself. The ballots are returned. The votes are cast. A winner is declared. 

 The clock has struck midnight and Special Election has turned into a pumpkin. It’s all over. 

The fundraising emails, which were hitting your inbox once an hour, no longer come. Joe and Mika forget about you. POLITICO moves on. 

L’affaire est terminée!

No one says it would be this hard to get over Special Election. Attempts to comfort with promises of how exciting General Election will be offer little solace.

The only thing left are the epilogues about how Special Election was really won. Those who thought Jolly would lose now want credit for his win, while those who stood next to Sink before last Tuesday can’t run from her fast enough. 

Like with any break-up, these look-backs are unseemly. When it’s over, it’s over. 

All that I am left with are memories from those exciting four months when Special Election was the center of the (political) universe. All it took for this to happen was the death of the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House, so the chances of it happening again soon are remote.

In other words, love like this comes around only so often.

I know there is another Special Election taking place only one hundred or so miles to the south of me and I’ve tried to fall in love with that Special Election, but it’s just not the same. It’s a race that will be decided in the GOP primary and so that Special Election is nothing compared to the Special Election I knew and loved.

I am sure I will get over this loss. The whole in my heart will fill back in. But, in the meantime, I just want the world to know … I miss you, Special Election. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.