Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Election Results to Determine State's Future Direction

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Election Results to Determine State's Future Direction

Article excerpt

Tuesday's election will bring to a welcome close the 2006 election campaign. The results will determine the direction the state is going for the next four years.

How much interest exists among rank-and-file voters in statewide races remains unclear. While there are important issues such as illegal immigrants, which seem to be on the minds of many voters, tax cuts, spending, and lawsuit reform, there has been little real dialogue among the candidates in the statewide races.

A few TV debates have been held on major races and candidate appearances before local groups have occurred across the state, but they do not draw the attention of most voters.

The local television news media apparently have little time for real examination of issues, preferring to dwell on their comfortable sound bites of candidates accusing one another of something, or pandering to their own biases. Even those have to be squeezed in between crime reports and paid political ads, which follow the news pattern and fail to provide meaningful elucidation.

Campaign ads have been a mixture of attacks on opponents, many of them coming in the past few closing days of the campaign, and positive ones extolling the virtue of the various candidates. Few offered much insight on differences on key issues between candidates.

The best TV political ads run in this year's entire campaign were by Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode in her race for the 5th Congressional District Republican nomination. Many were incisive, revealing her knowledge and position on national issues.

Bode ran third in a field of five. Was that the reason? I doubt it, but it lends credence to the idea that attack ads work the best. The sad fact is a huge number of people get the only political information they have from TV. The good news, if it can be so called, is that many of them don't vote.

Those who profess to be regular voters often deny watching the TV ads, but there is a strong suspicion they may not like them but do not turn them off.

Fortunately some major newspapers, including The Journal Record, have done good jobs of reviewing candidates in more than capsulated form and explaining issues. …

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