This election becoming fun to watch

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This local election cycle is becoming fun — for observers if not for candidates. News Editor Diana McFarland has worked on some of the more entertaining election tidbits during the past week and you’ll find her reports elsewhere in this week’s paper.

Here’s a partial rundown.

In Surry County, candidates for sheriff are making mud slinging an art form. Somebody has even taken to making anonymous calls lambasting one of the four seeking that office. Turns out, that goes beyond bad taste. It’s illegal to criticize anonymously criticize a candidate for public office. Should be, too.

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Over here in Isle of Wight, candidates have been fighting over whose sign is put on a certain church’s property in the Newport District. The pastor of the church — also candidate for the Newport seat on the Board of Supervisors — wisely took his signs off his church’s front lawn and defused a potential church/state debate.

Then, there’s the county fair. A couple of candidates learned they could pay additional money and buy a favored position on the fair grounds while others were left inside a tent that drew fewer people. Corruption of the highest order, or savvy marketing?

And, of course, there was the famous endorsement cycle which everybody from the local Tea Party to the Democratic Party fell in line behind one candidate, a Republican.

And thus have so far gone the 2015 local elections. There is, of course, room for debate of substantive issues. In the Board of Supervisors election, voters would probably like to hear views on ISLE 2040, the Gatling Pointe water line, U.S. 460 and other policy matters.

And in the elections for constitutional officer seats, there is also room for debate on qualifications and policy direction. It’s just so much more entertaining to talk about campaign signs and other trivial matters.

In truth, the weightier issues were to be addressed during a public forum Monday and another this coming Monday, but in the meantime, it’s been fun watching the show as candidates tweak each other about minutiae.

And then there’s …

Of course, if watching the foibles of candidates for office is our thing, then the local folks can’t hold a candle to the presidential elections. Thus far, the Democrats have been fairly staid, you might say downright traditional, in their approach.

But the Republicans have offered theater at at its best — or worse, depending on what entertains you.

And if the presidential debates aren’t sufficiently bizarre, there’s always the latest effort to shut down the government.

Turns out the one act of statesmanship in recent memory is the decision of John Boehner to resign as Speak of the House because he is — unbelievably — too liberal for many in his party.

It’s just great to be alive and watching politics, whether in Isle of Wight and Surry or in Washington.