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2 candidates take rare action

Come election time, there’s nothing all too unusual about having political candidates roaming the halls at O’Bannon Publishing Co.
They stroll by to place advertising in this newspaper, turn in a questionnaire, provide someone with a campaign sign or perhaps to chit-chat about the day’s events. For us, it’s just another day in Small Town, USA.
But the morning of Sept. 27, there was something a bit out of the ordinary.
The Republican candidate in the Harrison County sheriff’s race, Rod Seelye, was sitting at the desk of one of our advertising sales representatives, Ashley Allen Bullington. Nothing abnormal about that, except for the fact that his opponent, Democratic nominee Gary Gilley, was also sitting at her desk.
No, they weren’t comparing notes, making sure campaign laws were being followed or having a makeshift debate on issues at the Harrison County Justice Center. They were placing an advertisement. Together.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. And I wasn’t alone. After I delivered newspapers to Satterfield’s in Depauw, the owner of the establishment, Donnie Satterfield, stopped me before I walked out the door and asked me about the ad and what it meant.
If you missed that ad on page A4 of last week’s newspaper, basically the sheriff’s candidates were pledging to run a clean campaign and asked that their supporters help run a positive race and focus on the issues at hand. In other words, the generals were asking their respective armies to support the men they were following and not try to tear down the other candidate. Both candidates signed off on the ad and paid for it through their respective committees.
In light of the seemingly endless attack ads dominating the airwaves ‘ most centering around the race between Indiana Ninth Congressional candidates Baron Hill and Todd Young and Kentucky U.S. Senatorial candidates Jack Conway and Rand Paul ‘ last week’s pledge was incredibly refreshing.
Politics 101 in the 21st century seems to center around why voters shouldn’t vote for someone. Joe or Jane Candidate almost never tells the voter about their qualifications, their stance on the issues or ever even makes an attempt to connect with the voter. They show an unflattering photograph, they chop and hack away at their opponent, make them out to be puppy killers and give every reason in the world why no one in their right mind would vote for them. Rather than paint themselves as the solution, they paint their opponents as the problem. And, since both sides claim the other side is a crook, when we pull out the pen to fill out our ballot, we’re effectively voting for ‘ you guessed it ‘ a crook.
Continual bashing erodes faith in the political process and spreads voter apathy.
I hope other candidates take notice of what Gilley and Seelye have done, and I hope their supporters will live up to the pledge they’ve taken.