Scott Levinson is a selfish voter.
That label gets rolled out every presidential election year, mostly during rote vote shaming spiels. But there’s no better term to describe Levinson, the Republican nominee for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.
The first ballot Levinson ever cast was in the Aug. 18 primary election, when he appeared on the ballot. Assuming he voted for himself — a safe bet — his own candidacy is apparently the only circumstance that could motivate him to perform his civic duty.
He has no legitimate excuse for not voting. He’s not new to Florida, and he’s not newly eligible — Levinson is in his mid-50s and first registered to vote during the Clinton era and was removed from the voter rolls for inactivity in 1995.
While he cleared that up and reregistered as a Republican two years ago, he ignored the primary and general elections where his own party lost control of the U.S. House. Worse yet, both of the Republican state legislators who represented him lost reelection to Democratic challengers — and on of them, former Sen. Dana Young, lost by just a handful of votes.
To be fair, Levinson put about as much effort into his primary campaign as he has voting. The first-time candidate was an unremarkable fundraiser and his 10-point victory over Tony Morejon was a shocker.
Still, his heretofore absenteeism at the polls reeks of hypocrisy.
Levinson is the kind of candidate who thinks “politics” is a dirty word. The kind who derides his opponents as “career politicians” who don’t understand the “real world.” The kind who speaks about government challenges he can’t comprehend and thinks he can show up and fix them.
In true you-can’t-make-this-up fashion, Levinson — despite having never convinced himself to pull the lever at the ballot box in his life — told voters that he would “know what levers to pull, what buttons to push” and “how to get people to do things.”
The outsider schtick can work, and it can even be valid. Sometimes, after decades of voting for candidates who don’t get results, people feel called to run.
But it loses all credibility when the person behind that message never had any skin in the game. Levinson, as far back as finance records go, has never even donated to a political cause or campaign.
Hillsborough voters have a choice: A candidate who has literally only cared about local politics when it benefitted him, or a candidate, Harry Cohen, who has spent the better part of a decade serving as a City Commissioner.
Only one of them “knows what levers to pull.”