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A vote must be earned before it’s cast

Published: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 11:01 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT

I don’t think there’s any secret about my political leanings, but there is one point of clarification that needs to be made: I’m not a Republican.

But, I have a lot of friends who still have hope the GOP will some day return to its conservative roots. So, in the last few months — at least since the end of the Iowa State Fair — I’ve been asked to weigh in on the bumper crop of candidates to run for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Usually, I answer by saying I’d be more interested in seeing someone have the courage to face off against Gov. Terry Branstad in the primary next June. That, of course, won’t happen. But it should.

You see, your vote shouldn’t be automatic. Even if someone has done an admirable job, it’s healthy to have a full discussion of the issues of the day, even in the primaries.

Candidates need to earn our votes.

Back to the aforementioned U.S. Senate primary, I was asked to “talk down” someone who was flirting with jumping on Candidate A’s bandwagon. His reason for jumping on? Candidate B, quickly becoming the frontrunner, was attracting all the wrong allies.

Again, there couldn’t be a worse reason to support a particular candidate.

If I were to run for elected office — wait, a minute, I have (twice) — I would want to do so on the merits of my abilities and what I would bring to the position. I wouldn’t use it as an opportunity to be anti-my opponent(s).

Voters should expect the same from those running for office. If Candidate X wants you to vote for him or her, it should be on the merits of his or her platform and policy statements, not because he or she “isn’t Candidate Y.”

I’m not suggesting I think any of our local officials has done a bad job, but I’d really like to see every race on the ballot next week contested. None of them will be, but having actual races would mean we could have had a healthy dialogue about the important issues Newton faces, which would benefit everyone.

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