No guarantees in election outcomes

By Steve Lyon
The political races for city council,
mayor and school board are
coming down to the last couple of
With absentee and early voting at the
courthouse currently underway, some
city and county residents have already
cast their ballots.
People ask me who is winning
in these various races,
and honestly I cannot say
because I don’t know and
choose not to speculate.
It would be possible to do
a fairly accurate poll of random
voters if one had the
time and inclination.
I do know that there is no
guarantee in the outcome of
political races. Consider the
last city council race in Weiser.
There were three seats
up for election, just like this
time around. The top three
voter-getters will win office.
In the last council race, the fourth
place finisher was something like eight
or so votes from winning office. If I can
use a sports metaphor, it was like playing
in the Masters golf tournament and you
missed the cut by a couple of strokes.
Regardless of your political affiliation,
or whether you like the guy or not,
you’ve got to concede that Bill Clinton
was the consumate campaigner.
I remember the “comeback kid” in the
final days of the 1996 campaign. At one
point, Clinton was behind in the polls as
he sought a second term in office.
The politics at the time were fairly
bleak. Both the U.S. House and Senate
were controlled by Republicans.
Personal scandals
during his first term in office
hounded Clinton.
But that old charmer Bill
from Hope, Ark., didn’t give
up. He lost his voice from all
the talking as he jetted from
rally to rally during those final
days and even final hours
before the November vote.
I’ve seen the candidates
for city offices at a lot of local
events. They are working
hard to lock up votes. Don’t
let up on the gas pedal until
8 p.m. on Nov. 5.
Newspapers used to endorse candidates
on their opinion pages but don’t
much anymore. Endorsements could
make or break political races. The power
of the pen was evident at the polls.
You can bet the candidate who was
endorsed on the opinion page of a newspaper
in anytown USA had a spring in
his or her step the next day when the paper
hit the newsstands.
You can also bet the candidate who
was not endorsed in a political contest
was on the phone the next morning giving
the editor an earful.
I’ve never subscribed to the idea of
endorsements. I understand the intent to
help voters reach a decision on a candidate
and why they deserve office.
Despite the research and thoughtful
process that usually goes into picking a
candidate to endorse, it’s still subjective
to pick one candidate over another.
Endorsing a candidate can’t help but
show a bias. Is this truly the best person
for the elected office, or is it someone
who knows the publisher or has some
other inside track?
Candidates who were not endorsed
were given the opportunity to respond
in a rebuttal that the newspaper would
publish. Usually that was perceived as a
whiney and weak argument.
For those reasons and others, newspaper
have gotten away from endorsing
Besides, I like to enjoy a cup of coffee
in the morning without having to listen
to a tirade from a mad candidate.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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