About 450 potential voters from across Lake County attended the South Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Hob Nob Thursday evening, seeking to meet and talk with 22 candidates running for various local, county and state races.
At the bi-annual event, people were also given the opportunity to vote in a straw poll.
According to Chamber President Ray San Fratello, the results of the straw poll have historically served as a sneak peek at what the upcoming election’s results may look like, though nothing is etched in stone, he said.
“The poll is supposed to be a pretty good barometer of what the election’s going to look like though it could never suggest a definite winner. I will say that I’ve gone back and looked at the results of some of our past Hob Nobs, and what I noticed is that coincidentally, the results were a pretty good representation in the end,” San Fratello said. “At our last event (2012), the results were about 95 percent accurate and two years before that, it was about 90 percent.”
Clermont Councilman Keith Mullins said he does not believe the results of the Hob Nob are a good indicator of the elections because candidates bring friends and family, which don’t represent the larger voting public.
“I think most of voters know the straw poll is just for fun,” Mullins said. “It’s not a true cross section of the population.”
Clermont resident Phyllis Smith said it lets candidates know if they are on the right track.
“It gives residents a good idea of who’s ahead and it reveals who needs to do a little more work,” Smith said, adding that after events like these, candidates can get a better sense of what is on voters’ minds.
But poll wasn’t the most important part, said Judy Proli.
“This is the best forum you can get as far as seeing and talking to all the candidates in person and all in one place. It’s like a smorgasbord,” said Proli.
Mary O’Hanlon, who works for the South Lake Democratic Club, said she’s been making calls to voters and encouraging them to attend in order to get to know all the candidates.
“You get a better sense of person when you talk to someone face to face and it’s important to know who you are voting for,” O’Hanlon said.
Terry Neal, a sitting Lake County judge, said she thinks the venue is a great way to hear what people have to say.
“We (judges) can’t answer a lot of individual questions sometimes, but at an event like this, you get to meet people in a different light and talk to them one-on-one and it makes a difference,” Neal said.
Neal’s opponent, Daniel Archer, said the event allowed many people to put a face to his name.
“These are the people in our own backyard we are meeting here tonight,” Archer said, adding that he is grateful for the opportunity to make a good impression and share his ideas and plans.
All candidates that are in the upcoming primary on Aug. 26, or that will be on the general election ballot on Nov. 4 were in the straw poll.
Three constitutional referenda on the November ballot were also included.