Friday, October 22, 2010

The Election Project: An Introduction

A couple of months ago I, with the help of Chris George started a project. The project was intended to give Spartanburg county residents better information about the candidates that would be appearing on the November ballots. A secondary purpose was to give candidates, especially those in smaller less publicized races and third party candidates with miniscule budgets, a chance for voters to hear what they had to say on a few topical issues. Yes, I am an idealistic, wishful-thinking kind of girl.

A list of questions was compiled for each category of candidate based on the seat they hoped to obtain, and each candidate with the exception of those running in unopposed race was contacted. With some, getting the actual questions to the candidates proved impossible, as the campaign headquarters of these candidates did not deem my little list of questions worth bothering their candidate with. Two campaigns promptly put me on their mailing lists however. That was certainly not what I had asked for. As for the actual response from all the people that Chris and I contacted, there was very little.

Yes I am very disappointed, but as was explained to me, I shouldn’t be surprised. Transparency, although much-touted amongst candidates, especially those with ridiculous amounts of funding, is avoided when it comes to real issues like the proverbial plague. Why? Because taking a stand may mean that their opponent may use that as a weapon against them. Crazy, huh? Smaller races, of course have ridiculously low funding to run their campaigns so getting to the voters on issues can be quite the challenge. One would think that they’d fall all over some free publicity, yet, that wasn’t exactly the results I got.

The money that is thrown at the big races so that candidates can pretty much say the same thing over and over again while reminding voters what a horrible person the opponent is, is in my opinion shameful. Just imagine what could be done with the money that instead, ends up in the pockets of consultants, media outlets, speech writers, advertisers etc? One big U.S. Congressional Race could almost refit an Elementary School with state of the art technology, or pay all the teachers salaries of that school for a month. But that’s a rant for another day.
I did receive four response from my list of questions, two from U.S. Congressional candidates and two from SC Congressional candidates. Sadly, we got nothing from the few local County Council candidates races, or the governor’s race. I did not contact state officer candidates like state Secretary of Education, although I considered it. Three of the four were from third parties, one was from a Democrat who’s name appears on a second party in his district.

Now on to the responses.  The questions for state races were intended for both State House and the Governor’s position. The ones for US Congress covered both houses. I am going post one set of responses per day, beginning tomorrow. I am thankful to Jerry Blanton, Tom Davies, Faye Walters and Tom Clements who took the time to respond. I will give a brief introduction to each candidate then let their responses do the rest of the talking.
Stay tuned. In the meantime, I urge you to discover information about the candidates in your district yourself. For a list of the candidates visit