Best Of 2008

WORST LOCAL POLITICIAN: Buddy Johnson

It’s hard to imagine another local elected official winning this award over Hillsborough’s supervisor of elections. Not only has he been the subject of on-target investigations by the St. Petersburg Times into his personal land holdings and nonpayment of real estate taxes away from the office, he’s done a crummy job at the office. One political consultant told us how Johnson’s office refused to give her a copy of the absentee ballot. Why? It’s hard to say. The consultant said that Johnson himself called her late at night and insisted that she didn’t really need it anyway. Then Buddy botched the first drop of absentee ballots so that candidates’ direct-mail pieces to those voters hit mailboxes too early. On Primary Election Night he blamed a software glitch from the manufacturer on a two-hour-plus delay in reporting results. Multiple sources in both parties have complained about procedural problems at the office leading up to the elections. That’s the kind of little stuff that mostly pisses off candidate operatives and nobody else, but you have to wonder: If Buddy can’t get the little things right, what big things are going amiss at the Supervisor of Elections Office?