Lies, damned lies, and statistics. That descriptor popularized by Mark Twain describes a recent letter writer’s effort to claim statistics show an overwhelming Republican presence in Citrus County and that should disqualify the Chronicle from printing articles critical of Republicans. He cites reporting of a local event which pointed out the continuing fallacious spoutings of our Republican president. But, he has made a huge mistake in assuming that Republican registrants are truly Republican. Take me, for example. I was Republican most of my life, beginning with voting for Nixon in 1960. But I consider the party has left me, and for the past two decades, I have voted 90% for Democratic candidates. Yet, I am still registered Republican. That is simply because Florida has a closed primary voter law.
It is true that this county slightly leans Republican, and therefore many candidates for major office list themselves as Republican. If I want a say in selecting the candidate, I have to “be a Republican.” What is fascinating is that a discussion of this very phenomenon came up at a friendly group meeting recently. Two other persons expressed that they did the same. The group was approximately 10, and so statistically, 30% of us were RINOs — Republican in name only. Applying that correcting value to the numbers quoted by the letter writer, it seems this county is predominantly Democratic. I must admit I don’t really know if my statistics are valid, but my point is that the letter writer does not know either. He was entirely wrong to make that criticism.
Dr. Lowell D. Smith