Bartow Council candidate hopes 19 is the charm | News
Bartow, FL -- When he isn't sitting in front of the Bartow home he was born and raised in 73 years ago, Gerald Cochran is often in front of the Bartow City Council.
Often a thorn in their side.
But in his words, "Just a watchdog," says Cochran.
"I represent all the citizens, not just me."
On Wednesday, Cochran once again, paid his fee to run for Bartow City Council, figuring if he was on the panel, "I couldn't change it, but they'd have to listen to me."
And for the past 40 some-odd years that's really all Cochran has ever wanted.
Even he has lost count of the number of times he's run for city council.
"It could be 19. It could be 20," he says.
But for all those attempts, he's never won.
"I've had a rough road all these years," he says, "but they haven't killed my spirit."
If he is elected this time, Bartow's city manager, his assistants and just about anyone on the taxpayer's dime better watch out for Cochran, who says his first order of business is to slash the city staff.
"I would say the way things are going now they could be reduced to 50 percent," he says.
If he wins, Cochran says he also won't have to worry about being limited to just five minutes of public speaking.
He might get out-voted by his fellow council members, but he won't get cut off, he says.
"I'm trying to tell them what's going on, but they never fix the problem."
Still, the perennial candidate knows the odds are against him.
The incumbent, James Clements, who has already been re-elected once, says he plans to run again.
Also, Cochran admittedly has no campaign organization, no computer, not even a telephone to reach out to voters.
They should all recognize him by now, he says.
"If they don't, I don't want their vote anyway. That's the way I look at it. If they don't know me now, vote for the other man."
Cochran will get to test that campaign strategy April 3, which will clearly not be his first election, and likely not his last.
Cochran says he'll keep running for office as long as he has his health. His grandmother, he says, lived to be 104. So he expects he may still have several elections left in him.