What is all the hub-bub about today? I read my Union and they did a story about local politics and specifically the race for Third District Supervisor. The news story was based on the political ad favoring Dan Miller and smacking sitting Supervisor Terry Lamphier. I think everyone needs to calm down.
The Union asked R.L.Crabb, their resident cartoonist and a fellow who makes his living drawing cartoons sniping fun at people and things, for his opinion. He cited the Van Zant vs Seghezzi campaign of 2000 as a benchmark of nastiness and said he even drew a cartoon about it. Oh golly, the Van Zants and Seghezzi's were just so nasty! What a hoot! All of this angst of offense is ridiculous. One only needs to go back to the Van Zant campaign when he manged incumbent Jim Weir's campaign (Paul Emery was there too) for re-election to see Van Zant's style. All that went on was way over the top but in the end Fran Grattan, now Freedle, won the race by 49 votes. The Third District was always a close one and every little thing positive or negative, could decide the Supervisor.
Back in the days before I was elected in November of 1984, Karsten Hansen (of Hanson Brothers was the Third District Supervisor. If I recall correctly, he beat Marianne Slade twice and each race was by about ten votes! The District is usually anti-incumbent and the only one I recall winning twice was Jim Weir. In District One the races I won were also close but as we all know, one vote over even makes you the victor. In order to win every candidate has their own style and some use a incumbents votes and words against them. I did this in 1984 during the primary and somewhat in the general election.
I personally did the research of every single vote contained in the public records of the County Supervisors office. I also read the transcripts of those votes. I then compiled a chart that showed those facts and they were very effective. I was clear on each point and showed the date of the vote and the page containing the vote and transcript in the record. Even though any lamebrain could check my ad, thereby verifying the truth, the opposition attacked me personally and upped the ante of hateful speech and ads. I was taken aback since all the information was from the public record.
After the incumbent saw what was going on, instead of debating the votes the people supporting the incumbent went door to door and made vile personal attacks on me. But I never complained as I knew it was politics. The bottom line was I won and then I won again four years later. In the 1988 campaign I had the record then and to my surprise my opponents never did the research to debate my votes. Instead they went door to door and personally slimed me and my family. Again, I never complained and I won again. The bottom line is that a incumbent has a record and if that record is exposed they are sometimes held accountable. In 1988 I thought they would do the research but I guess they were too lazy.
So we have Mr. Crabb whose world view on local races must have only started in the year 2000 so hopefully I have filled in a few years prior to that. I believe that "negative" ads work unfortunately. People usually don't say "golly, what a great guy/gal and his/her votes are so like me". Usually the press doesn't report on the government votes, maybe a few, so the opponents of an incumbent usually are the one's who do the work. This season of campaigning is perhaps the least negative I have seen in many years. Most of the negative lies in campaign ads have been by liberals and democrats over the years. Democrats were the first too endorse in local non-partisan races and they have never, to the best of my recollection, ever endorsed a Republican for a non-partisan office. This year the Republicans endorsed Cliff Newell who I believe is a registered democrat. So if there is any high ground in the county body politic, it is held by the Republicans.
I am sure that Terry Lamphier can take the slings and arrows as well he should. I was once an incumbent as he is now and you just have to keep your big boy pants on and deal with reality. I was directed to another local liberal blog that also commented on the Union article from this morning. I just shook my head that people are so thin skinned and think things are so terrible in local politics. It is a cake walk here, no big deal.