July 10, 2013

Voters served best by competitive races

The Daily Citizen

— Dalton Mayor David Pennington made it official on Monday. He filed paperwork with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to raise money for a run for governor. Pennington plans to challenge Gov. Nathan Deal in next year’s Republican primary.

Pennington has been crisscrossing the state for several months, talking to community groups and conservative activists.

“There are a lot of people out there looking for a competitive primary,” he said.

Count us among them.

We hope Pennington is not the only one to challenge Deal in the GOP primary. We also hope several strong Democrats choose to enter their party’s primary for governor. But so far, no major Democrat has indicated an interest in that race.

We don’t have any particular dissatisfaction with Deal. Rather, we always like to see candidates challenged, and we particularly like to see incumbents forced to explain and defend their records. We want to see voters face a choice of strong, viable candidates in every primary and general election.

Democracy isn’t served by uncontested elections. Voters deserve a choice in every race in every election. They deserve to have candidates who must truly work to earn their votes.

Candidates, particularly incumbents, can lose touch with the voters and become complacent, even arrogant, when they know they will not face serious competition during primaries and general elections.

Pennington’s candidacy is especially important for northwest Georgia. He, obviously, hails from Dalton, and Deal comes from Gainesville and represented this area for many years in Congress. We expect a race between the two will turn a spotlight on this area and its needs.

We like it when candidates for statewide office talk about manufacturing, water and other issues important to northwest Georgia and what they would do to help this area grow and prosper.

Georgia voters deserve choices. They deserve real debates. They deserve to see candidates, especially incumbents, challenged. And they owe thanks to Pennington and other candidates who give them those choices.