Change election


Michael Raffety


When the El Dorado Irrigation District board shifted its election from odd years to even years in coordination with general elections it did so to save money by not having to pay for a special election.

Board members had their terms extended one year to accommodate the election year shift.

What the board members didn’t’ foresee was a change election. From the presidential election on down to EID the mood of the electorate was for change.

As pointed out to me by fellow challenger Craig Schmidt, nearly 69 percent of the voters of EID Division 3 voted for change. That’s a combination of his 25.7 percent and my 43.2 percent vs. 30.8 percent for the incumbent.

This wasn’t the first change election. Jack Sweeney won election to the Board of Supervisors in 1984. That year I spent a day in the life of each candidate. Jack’s campaign group even had a song. I also spent a day following the late Al Tuttle around as he campaigned for the same seat Jack was running for.

The two other candidates I followed were incumbent state Sen. Ray Johnson and his challenger John Doolittle. Johnson was someone who used saying like, “I didn’t come into town on a turnip truck.” Doolittle was meticulous. I noticed his pumper stickers were neatly stacked in a built-in tray in the back of his station wagon.

Sweeney and Doolittle won. Sweeney was reelected without opposition. Then 1992 became a change year – throw out the incumbents year. George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton and Jack Sweeny lost to EID Director the late Mark Nielsen. Sweeney attributed his loss to an anti-incumbents mood. A change year.

When Carl Borelli died in office Jack Sweeney was appointed to take his seat on the Board of Supervisors and served another term. Jack’s experience was invaluable to the rest of the board. Two terms and that was it. Nielsen had led a successful effort to create a charter for county government and it included a two-term limit for serving on the Board of Supervisors.

There are no term limits at EID, but there are change elections.


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