Today is Sunday, September 21, 2014

Political parties and local elections, a recipe for disaster

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According to the rules, any in-county constitutional office can become a partisan race if a primary election is called for by either of the two major political parties local executive committees. Now if the race is a multi-jurisdictional one, such as district attorney, certain judges or public defenders, that has to be called for by the state executive committee of either party.


The deadline to submit the paperwork to the local county election administrator is Nov. 22, 2013, and the primary election would be held on May 6, 2014, with the qualifying deadline being Feb. 20 at noon.


OK, I was surprised, but not really shocked, until I learned the next possible scenario.


If neither party calls for a primary election, there could still be a partisan primary election if either party calls for a caucus or convention to nominate candidates, and the deadline for that to happen is April 3 only 33 days before the primary.


But thats not all of it. If only one party calls for, or nominates candidates, and meets all the deadlines, and the other party doesnt, then only those candidates whose party did so will have their partys designation (an R or D) behind their names. Everyone else will have an (I) for Independent.


I fully understand the reasoning behind that, because its only fair that the party that jumps through all of the hoops gets to identify their candidates party affiliation.


But what I dont understand is why make any local race partisan, period.


Daily, we hear via national news outlets how according to the latest polls, people are sick of the partisan bickering and fighting in our nations capitol. It doesnt seem to matter if they are Republicans or Democrats. The majority of people are tired of the stalemate and finger pointing. They want to see work being done instead.


I totally agree. I want to see work done, not party bickering, by all of my elected officials and making local races partisan would hinder that effort.


I dont care if its the Red to the Roots campaign currently being pushed by the Tennessee Republican Party, or if state Democrats decided to start a Blue to the Bottom campaign, local elected positions should remain non-partisan.


Our county is divided enough as it is. Wilson County remains, despite valiant efforts by multiple parties, a county divided by a highway, which Ive never really understood. After all, arent we are all residents of the same county? Yet, jealousies and power struggles over which side of Highway 109 has the majority continue on the county commission and board of education.


(By the way, does anyone think the proposal to increase the number of school board members is nothing more than an attempt to try and shift the power back toward the center of the county, away from the east side? But thats a column for another day.)


Given our own internal divisions, do we really need to throw party politics into the mix? Heck, the Republican Party within the county is already split between the official Wilson County Republican Party and Sen. Mae Beavers group, Wilson County Conservative Republicans. Meanwhile, Democrats still seem to be licking their wounds and sulking after becoming the minority party four years ago both locally and statewide.


While I may have learned something new, I have to admit it was information I found troubling. Local political offices need to remain non-partisan. I just pray Wilson County doesnt become the 53rd county to do otherwise.


Let me know your thoughts. Drop me a comment at amhipps@downhomepolitics.com. Ill share them in a future column.

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