You heard it here first months ago: With such a large field of candidates, the winner of the Republican primary for the U.S. House District 19 seat now held by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, will have to corner only a niche of voters.
Because runoffs are things of the past, the top vote-getter wins, even though he may not draw a majority.
Although at the time of that epiphany the GOP slate was closer to 10 candidates, the six remaining still paint a scenario of minority rule.
Do the math.
There are about 54,000 Republicans in the District 19 part of Collier County and 148,000 more in Lee County.
Turnout is projected at 35 percent in Collier.
Lee elections officials are not setting any such targets, but let's assume a similar turnout there. And let's factor in a higher turnout among Republicans, based on experience and the preponderance of GOP races, of 40 percent.
One of them could win with only one-sixth of the total votes cast or just 13,500 votes.
And that minimum number would represent less than 7 percent of the registered Republicans — while the winner would lay claim to representing all of them and have a very good chance of beating the lone Democrat challenger on Nov. 6.
With the big money flying around for this race, look for some very telling cost-per-vote analyses.
Then again, these candidates know an open seat is a rare opportunity and it's now or never to take a chance and spend like they promise not to in Washington.n n nThe Collier Supervisor of Elections Office plans to step up its game for election day coverage on Tuesday.
All day long CollierVotes.com will feature a graphic with a running total of voters showing up at precincts around the county.
It will freeze at 6 p.m. to retool to post results after the polls close at 7 p.m.
At about 7:30 p.m. the site will post the first set of results — from early voting and the mail/absentee ballots received by then — with updates to follow.
FYI: Odd yet true, more than half of the voters expected to turn out have already voted.n n nSuppose they throw a party and nobody comes?
That is what happened two weekends ago in Bonita Springs when the Cafe of Life organization held an ice cream social at the site of a proposed community feeding/recreation center.
Cafe of Life expected a crowd so large, after mailing invitations to nearly 600 Rosemary Park neighboring households, that it had to say the public was not really invited.
Yet, only 68 people, including children, from the area showed up to learn more and eat ice cream, according to Cafe spokesman Bruce Wheatley.
"We offered each adult the opportunity to respond (optional) to a two-question survey: 1. Do you favor the park being built in Rosemary Park; and 2. Are you OK with having the Cafe of Life serve its clients at the site during morning hours Monday through Friday?" Wheatley said. "Nineteen responses were obtained: 17 favorable on both questions with one unfavorable and one undecided."
The results tell Wheatley that the neighbors know about the project and support it — consistent with other opinion samples that Cafe of Life has taken about Leitner Neighborhood Park.
Wheatley downplays the notion that Cafe of Life gains leverage for the project by virtue of now owning the Bonita Woman's Club headquarters near the city rec center in the heart of town where the hungry are fed now.
"We have not 'played one against the other' in our discussions with City Hall," Wheatley said.
"The woman's club could be one option. However, we remain committed to the Leitner site for the time being. Leitner will mean good things for more people in Bonita Springs than the woman's club property by offering a wonderful park as well as addressing some of the basic needs (food, clothing, take-home groceries, medical attention, etc.) of those less fortunate in our city.''n n nA few Saturdays ago, Daily News reader Art Hecht was driving on Enterprise Avenue, across from Naples Municipal Airport, when he saw something unexpected.
"These guys scared the hell of me," he said. "They are not SWAT and they motioned to me to move on when they saw me taking this shot (above).
"Is there a federal troop now in town?"
No, Mr. Hecht, but you're close.
"These are Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies," said a spokesperson for Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. "They are doing what is called 'heat training' in preparation for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The deputies are training in full gear, including gas masks, to condition themselves to wearing this equipment, should they need it, in the August heat in Florida."
The Tampa Police Department is paying, the spokesperson said, but that is all we know. "I am unable to tell you how many (Collier) deputies will be working this detail or how long the deputies will be there," she said, "because that is tactical information."
Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His email address is email@example.com. Call him at 239-263-4773.