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Letter to the Editor: Gualtieri vs. Rice, a Horse Race? Not Quite

One more big difference between a horse race and the Pinellas County sheriff’s race is that betting on your favorite horse doesn’t affect the outcome of the race. Your vote for the right person does.

A lot may be said for comparing a tight political race to a horse race. There seems to be enough likeness between the two contests to allow for a plausible analogy. So let’s look at some of the more obvious similarities; competitors don’t necessarily enter the starting gate on an equal basis. For the moment, we’ll discount age as a factor in horse racing since horses are usually matched closely by age because it’s unfair to run a young horse full of energy against an older steed whose legs have grown a bit shorter with time.

What we really want to look at on our racing form at the running of the 2012 Pinellas County Downs Sheriff’s Stake is recent past performance. We’re going to place our bet on the competitor that has shown the best performance most recently against tough odds. In the case of horses, we consider condition of the track, weather conditions, competition and other factors.

With the sheriff’s race, we can equate the condition of the track with that of the economy, weather conditions to a tight budget and competition to how both candidates managed these factors.

The secret to our success on the track is to bet on the horse with the best chance of winning and we demonstrate our confidence of choice oftentimes in the size of the bet we place. Where the analogy between a horse race and the sheriff’s race tends to fade is that we’re not overly concerned about how the horse does after the race. We either won or lost our bet and can go home worry-free.

For our next sheriff, performance after the race is definitely a consideration in determining where we’ll place our vote. If we make the wrong choice, we’ll certainly have much to worry about. So it really comes down to making not only a good choice but the right choice based on what we know, feel and see at this moment, not what we read or hear about happening a long time ago. And, oh yes, one more big difference between a horse race and the sheriff’s race is that betting on your favorite horse doesn’t affect the outcome of the race. Your vote for the right person does.

Harvey Alexander Smith

Debate chairman and organizer

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