Jerry Davich: Politicians shouldn’t assume they have name recognition
Jerry Davich firstname.lastname@example.org August 28, 2012 4:54PM
Andy Koultourides, Republican candidate for Lake County Coroner| Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:17AM
Does the name Andy Koultourides ring a bell? Yeah, I still didn’t think so.
Koultourides, however, took polite exception to this lead of my previous column, which asked the same question about him and his opponent in the race for Lake County coroner.
“I tend to think that most people know of me, not unbeknownst,” he told me after that column ran, possibly tongue in cheek.
I politely disagree with him, as I do with most every public official who wrongly believes they are known by others outside of their inner circle of friends, supporters, and sycophants.
Most of us — especially those with titles, influence and in the public eye, think most other people know us. I say they don’t. This includes me, of course, who’s not a public official but who’s certainly in the public eye.
This is especially true with men, whose egos are easily inflated by flattery, denial and delusion. Too many of us think we’re the center of the universe, not a wayward moon circling a distant planet.
This phenomenon is heightened even more with men in a position of power, influence or public policy.
Since my previous column ran, I’ve been asking Lake County voters and region residents a simple question: Who is Andy Koultourides, and what public office is he running for?
Of the two dozen or so people I talked with, during informal conversation, only one person recognized his name. And that was because of my previous column.
But today’s column isn’t a slam against Koultourides, a respected dentist and a fine Munster town councilman whom I’ve never met. It’s a reminder to all elected officeholders and political candidates that they have work to do with just over two months to Election Day.
Koultourides, the Republican candidate for Lake County coroner, will go against Democrat Merrilee Frey on Nov. 6. And he will need to get his name out to many more potential voters if he has any chance of beating her.
For instance, I didn’t know who Jim Snyder was until he knocked on my front door in the early spring of 2011 during his campaign for Portage mayor. The Portage businessman and Republican candidate was up against incumbent Olga Velazquez, a Democrat.
I watched him hustle his butt off as that Election Day approached, and it paid off big time. He is now the city’s mayor and is attending the ongoing Republican National Convention in Tampa, accompanying other prominent Republicans from this region.
Before he beat Velazquez, however, I’m sure he didn’t have the attitude that most Portage residents knew him. In fact, they didn’t, including me. So he pounded miles of pavement, shook thousands of hands and made sure people knew his name, his platform and his promises.
On Tuesday, Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day told delegates in Tampa, “We must take this election house-by-house, precinct-by-precinct, city-by-city.”
Northwest Indiana Republicans need to do the same, especially in Lake County, if they are to have a legitimate shot on Election Day.
Regarding the Lake County coroner’s race, Koultourides will certainly need to do the same if he’s to beat Frey, who’s considered a lock as a Democrat. Then again, Frey also needs to pound the pavement, shake hands and get her name out there.
Here’s one reason why: “I have been a loyal Democrat since I started voting, but I will not vote Democrat in November on several races, including the coroner,” one reader told me after reading my previous column on this issue.
Several other readers, including Lake County voters, also told me they are tired of the “Democrat machine” in this region and all that it implies.
“Andy who?” one long-time Democrat replied to my question.
“I don’t care what his last name is or if he’s a Republican,” he said disgustedly. “He’s got my vote this year.”
‘Notoriety’ not my fault
A few readers pointed out that I wrongly used the word “notoriety” in this line from that previous column.
“Snyder, who will be traveling with fellow Republicans State Rep. Ed Soliday and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, is also seeking national notoriety for his city.”
One (Republican) reader told me, “Jerry, that word has negative connotations and you shouldn’t have used it in regard to Mayor Snyder’s city.”
For the record, it was Snyder who used that word when replying to my questions. I should have put it into “quote” marks, though. My mistake.
Political agenda: Who me?
“Dear Jerry, what’s your political agenda on Facebook and in your columns?” a reader recently asked me.
Here’s a revised response that I posted on my social media websites.
“Dear reader, I have no political agenda on Facebook or any other forum, including my newspaper columns. It’s not my concern who you vote for, why you vote for any candidate, or that you vote at all.
“My only ‘agenda’ is to be informative, entertaining, amusing, or thought-provoking. Period. If you feel none of these emotions while reading my work, you should elect to read more political-minded material.”
Listen to Jerry’s “Casual Fridays” radio show each Friday at noon on WLPR, 89.1-FM, streaming at www.thelakeshorefm.com.