March 8, 2014

Kudos to all who are seeking elected office

Qualifying for local and state elections ended Friday, and while many incumbents will be running unopposed, there are a few surprises in the mix.

Looking at the lineup for the May 20 general primaries shows a handful of contested races in Whitfield and Murray counties.

Many are between candidates who qualified as Republicans, and there are a few races with Democratic Party contenders. And one race, for Whitfield County Board of Commissioners District 1, has at least four hopefuls running for the seat being vacated by the incumbent.

Some of the candidates are new to the game, many are familiar faces.

But all should be commended for stepping up and entering — or staying in — public service.

Serving in political office is a big commitment, whether it be on a board of education or in the Georgia General Assembly. Job demands can put the opportunity out of the reach for many, perhaps even most.

For those who are running for the first time, they probably will find it a life-changing experience. Exploring the political processes can be an eye-opener, from courting supporters to being under public scrutiny.

The odds of winning against incumbent candidates may be long, but all political careers have to start somewhere.

To the incumbents, we applaud your determination to stick with it even though you may be subject to a public that is hostile or apathetic, or both.

To those who qualified, we applaud your intentions. You are making time to serve where others can’t, or won’t. We only wish more people would get involved and make each race contested.

Candidates need to be challenged in the electoral process.

The give and take of a competitive campaign forces candidates to articulate and sometimes modify their positions.

Unchallenged office hopefuls may feel no need to get out in the community and they could fall under the influence of those who espouse more extreme positions.

And that can be an impediment to the legislative process.

Here’s looking ahead to an interesting electoral spring.

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