Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who pays for specials? 

There's a primary going on today in House District 28B. The DFL-endorsed candidate, Linda Pfeilsticker, is facing off against Wes Moreland. Moreland, it turns out, was studying in Oxford until this past weekend, but appears to be well-known. Michael reports that Pfeilsticker is supported by people close to the Keith Ellison campaign; Drew says she also draws support from Education Minne$ota. Moreland says he's more conservative and a better fit for a district represented by Republican Steve Sviggum for many years.

Local election officials say this primary is costing taxpayers as much as $15,000. Who should pay for this? The Winona Daily News editorial says it's the price of democracy:
What�s great about living in this country is that anyone who meets some very minimal qualifications can run. The ballot can be a great equalizer, just as one vote for every one person also has a positive effect in governing.

We would do well to remember that it�s not necessarily about what kind of family you�re born into, where you�re from or how well connected you are that qualifies you as a candidate. It�s about every person who�s interested having an equal shot, even if sometimes candidates are poorly qualified or seem to show little interest beyond getting their name on the ballot.

Keep in mind much of the criticism on the national political scene comes because of the massive amount of fundraising and cash it takes to be a viable candidate. Now, presidential candidates as well as those running for the House of Representatives, have to raise millions just to compete. The common person has a much harder time getting into the race at the federal level.

But not so on the state or local level (thankfully). Most can throw their names into the political ring with a couple of signatures and a filing fee. Sometimes, it creates lopsided races. Sometimes, it gives voters an odd choice of characters to represent them. Other times � when the system works best � it gives voters at least two great choices to represent their interests.
So while some whine about how limited their choices are for the U.S. Senate (more on that in the next post) in one breath, with the next they may whine about how some people just are wasting our time. Hurrah for the Winona Daily News editorial board. To paraphrase Churchill, the system looks wasteful until you see what the other systems have to offer.

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