Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peckin' around Queen City

Staunton has elections for city council coming up in a couple weeks. Folks in the Queen City pride themselves on the elections being nonpartisan and, because they are held in May, somewhat immune to contamination by state and/or national issues. Of course, voter turnout is probably lower than it would be in November and there is a cost factor. Delegate Chris Saxman, acting contrary to the expressed wishes of city council and many residents, introduced legislation to change from May to November. He cited the cost, but most observers recognized his attempt as pure partisan politics to bring GOP coattails to the nonpartisan election. Maybe it was a bit of payback to Bruce Elder who challenged Saxman and after losing that race was elected to council. While Elder doesn't parade around town on a donkey, he is known to frequent some Democratic events. And, he's pushed Saxman's hot buttons on payday loans and other issues.
But, are Staunton elections really "nonpartisan?" Although party labels aren't on the ballot and everyone talks about being nonpartisan, the Republican chair has been encouraging people to elect four Republicans: Rusty Ashby, Dickie Bell, Bob Campbell, and Andrea Oakes. 
Not to be left out, the Staunton Democratic Committee is hosting a candidate forum on April 28 at 7 PM in the council chambers. Wonder if those four will show? The other two candidates, Opie Kier and Dave Metz appear to have some unofficial support among city Democrats.
For now, at least, neither party appears to have endorsed any candidates for school board. Or have they and I just haven't found it in my scratching around?

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