Local races deserve attention Tuesday

Saturday, July 30, 2016

After months of endless television commercials, the long primary election process finally comes to an end on Tuesday.

In a Presidential election year, lower candidates often get lost in the political discussion as we focus on the all-important race at the top of the ballot.

But this year Missouri has a hotly-contested gubernatorial race, as well as close matches for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General.

And even a bit down the ticket, local county races are just as important but lack the pizzazz of other contests.

All in all, this year's primary election in Missouri offers some close contests that will help forge the future for our state.

I can't remember a primary election where southeast Missouri has a stake as high as this year.

Cape Girardeau native Peter Kinder is battling for the GOP nomination for Governor while Scott county native Bev Randles is in a nip-and-tuck race for Lieutenant Governor. I can only dream of the potential value for our region should either or both of these candidates succeed Tuesday and move to November.

Some voters are always confused on primary day because -- under Missouri's primary rules -- you either opt for a Republican or Democratic ballot. Keep that in mind.

As is always the case, every single statewide race this year has turned negative. What started as positive campaign advertising has turned to the ugly side of politics with charges and counter charges flying left and right.

But to me, the sad aspect of this type of primary is that county and local races are all too often lost in the shuffle of the much larger picture.

And yet it is these locally elected officials who often have a greater impact on our day-to-day lives. Their races deserve much more attention.

The headline race in Missouri come Tuesday is the Republican contest for Governor. Four seemingly qualified candidates have spent a bundle of money to convince you they are the true conservative and would be better positioned to take on a popular Democratic candidate in November.

After covering Missouri politics for well over 40 years, I have to admit some disappointment from the standpoint of the newspaper industry.

Not one candidate for Governor has visited the newspaper office this year. That is sadly a reflection on the state of newspapers and a growing trend toward mass and social media.

Following Tuesday, the number of mind-numbing television commercials will decrease for a while. Rest assured, they will return with a vengeance.

Regardless of your preference or party affiliation, vote Tuesday. This primary vote will mark the beginning of the process to determine who runs our state and who represents our interest in the future.

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