It is beginning to seem that the election season will never end. First, we had a brutal two year re-election campaign for president. We just found out this past week that Senator Saxby Chambliss will not run for his own re-election in 2014. An open seat for the U.S. Senate almost certainly guarantees that more than a dozen politicians are trying to decide whether to throw their hats into the ring.
It is easy to get cynical when you hear the same “stuff” over and over again. Everyone will likely try to be more conservative than their opponents in the Republican primary and the Democrats will be trying to figure out how to field a viable candidate in an increasingly Republican state. I also expect the word “moderate” to be dropped soon from any reliable political dictionary.
Local voters wonder if their vote really matters as they become weary of rhetoric, promises, and personal attacks. That attitude is dangerous for all of us. The people do have a voice and it is important on so many levels to exercise that precious right to vote.
However, occasionally a race comes along and whether you vote or not will actually make the difference in the outcome of the election. Such is the case with the runoff election between Dean Burke and Mike Keown for our own State Senate race in District 11.
Special elections are notorious for their low turnout and the runoffs are even worse. I know, because I was sent to Atlanta to represent you in a low turnout special election myself.
Supporters on both sides may feel like they have worked non-stop for weeks, but for much of the population this race is just not the most important thing going on in their lives. They are worried about jobs, bills, family, healthcare and everyday life.
The best man doesn’t always win when turnout is so low. Winning becomes a factor of who can best turn out their supporters. Throw in a little bad weather and the turnout becomes even less.
We have two good men running. Almost all their positions are similar. It makes it hard to draw clear distinctions. You will hear nothing negative from me about the two finalists in this race. Regardless of the winner, I will work as hard as I can to support our new Senator in Atlanta and in this district.
This paper endorsed Dean Burke in the special election and that endorsement still stands in next Tuesday’s runoff. For reasons that have nothing to do with Mike Keown’s qualifications or character, we believe that Dean Burke is uniquely qualified to represent us in the Georgia Senate during what is a really unique time in our state’s history.
Now it is time for you to do your duty one more time. Vote early this week or vote next Tuesday, February 5th. In this race, your vote really does count.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org