For political junkies like myself, this is a great week. Candidates officially sign on the dotted line through Friday their intention to run for any number of offices from statewide ones right down to local positions.
While I’m not going to kid myself into thinking everyone knows what’s going on this week, for those who bother to stay informed, it’s a great time. To me, nothing is more American than campaigning.
Here’s hoping a record number of candidates sign to run, both at the statewide, district and local levels. “The more choices the better” has always been my motto. I long for the day when every office has a minimum of 10 people running.
Maybe then voters will be forced to take the time to do a little research before going into the polling place.
•Recently appointed Secretary of State Brian Kemp is overseeing the qualifying at the state level this week.
Kemp, who ran for agriculture commissioner four years ago, had returned to the campaign trail this year before outgoing governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to fill the term of Karen Handel, who herself stepped down to run for governor.
Personally, I didn’t like Perdue playing politics with his role, filling it with a candidate for the seat and giving him a distinct advantage over his opponents (from all parties).
However, when has Perdue done anything that has made much sense?
To Kemp’s credit, since taking the Secretary of State’s chair, he has shown more ability to be non-partisan than the governor. In creating a “Putting Georgia First Committee,” Kemp named a prominent Democrat and one-time candidate for the office to the group in Lewis Massey.
“This job is bigger than any one person or one party,” Kemp was quoted in Georgia Trend as saying.
If our state is ever going to shape its economic crisis, more people need to form the attitude shown by Kemp.
•From a personal standpoint, let’s hope Kemp — or whomever is elected as the next Secretary of State — will help lead a push to ease Georgia’s strict ballot access laws. As it stands now, our state has some of the worst laws in the country in terms of fairness for candidates outside the “bit two.”
You shouldn’t have to belong to the Republican or Democratic parties to be included in the election process.
•Speaking of party labels, isn’t it time to do away with them for local races such as the Board of Commissioners, city councils and school board? Afterall, what does it matter what party you belong to if you are running for the local school board?
It only matters to those who take part in what I term “lazy voting,” those who only look at party affiliation and not what the candidate is saying. That’s why our state is in the shape it’s in, quite frankly.
•In a political discussion with my better half Pam this past weekend, she mentioned how you don’t see as many campaign signs as you once did years ago.
“You’re right,” I said. “I wonder why?”
We both concluded it was likely a two part answer. First, it probably has something to do with the Internet and how many candidates rely more on it these days. Second, campaign signs are expensive and many candidates are on a shoestring budget as it is and probably can’t afford them.
Personally, I always have liked seeing campaign signs dot the landscape. There’s just something American about it. Here’s hoping we see candidates get the word out via signs this spring and summer. And while they’re at it, maybe a few newspaper ads as well.
Chris Bridges is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers. You can reach him at email@example.com.