I’ve been trying to get this blog written since Friday. The subject matter has me so mad that I can’t even get a coherent blog out about it. Hopefully I’ve calmed down enough that I can get it posted this time.
I live in a small county in south central Ohio. Population 145,000. In local politics around here, the incumbent pretty much has a job for life. Unless you decide to retire or do something really bad to screw up, you have a job for as long as you want it. Most of the time, the incumbent is unopposed in the primary election . . . and sometimes unopposed in the general election as well. This year, the county auditor is running for re-election. He’s had the job for a few years and he’s been re-elected at least once. The guy running against the auditor can’t really complain about the job that he’s doing, so he’s taking cheap shots about a DUI (drunk driving charge) that the auditor got picked up for last fall. The auditor was driving a county vehicle on a weekend and got stopped for DUI, failure to stop for a police officer, and not wearing a seat belt.
Now I understand that negative ads are part of politics, but they’ve just never been a big part of local politics here in my county. I think it’s sad that this guy can’t/won’t tell the voters why he should be the auditor, but would rather dig up dirt on the current auditor.
But that’s not what’s got me all upset. On Thursday, I got an post card in the mail that was a negative ad about the current auditor. I can’t prove that it’s not from his opponent, but who else would send out such a thing? Each ad has to have a line explaining who financed the ad – and this ad’s line was "Paid for by Elect Me! Me! Me! U Gottabe Nutz, Treasurer". The ad contained lines from the State Trooper’s report when the auditor was stopped for the DUI. It was the most mean-spirited and cowardly ad that I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen anything this mean even in a national or state-wide election. I was so offended and upset about this ad that I called the local Board of Elections to see what I could do to file a complaint about this ad. Because the tag line of the ad didn’t list a real person or a real organization, there really isn’t anything that I can do to complain about this ad. The local Board of Elections official told me that the county auditor race had gotten very ugly and that she wasn’t surprised to hear about the post card that I had gotten.
I did call the current auditor and told him about the ad that I had received. He hadn’t heard about that particular ad, but he knew that there were some other pretty mean things being sent out to local voters. He asked me to fax him a copy of the ad that I had, and I did.
When the DUI charge happened last fall, I knew that this was going to be used against the auditor when/if he decided to run for re-election. So I’m not surprised about the post card that I received. I am upset that the person that sent out the post card didn’t have the integrity or the character to claim responsibility for it. If you’re going to bash a man’s character and dish out all the gory details of a police report, shouldn’t you be man/woman enough to take responsibility for it?! It’s not like we’re talking major politics here, people, it’s a county auditor’s race! Is this necessary?
Since I don’t know for sure that the opponent isn’t behind this ad, and since I had already decided not to vote for the current auditor (for reasons other than the DUI), I may choose to not vote for either candidate in this particular race. I guess I’ll have to face the fact that I don’t live in a sleepy little town and that local politics here are just as cut-throat as that on the state or national level. I think maybe that’s why I’m so upset. They took away part of the charm of living in this small community.