Surry candidates have a lesson for us all

The campaigns have been waged, the ballots counted, and now the statewide and national candidates move on, trying to take their delegates, or their respective party nomination, to further their efforts at winning elected office, while those seeking the U.S. House of Representatives will get their primaries in June.

Locally, we will have a few contested races in November, we have others that effectively ended Tuesday night in cases where there is no opposition now that the primaries are done.

For local candidates who had it all on the line Tuesday, or for those who have been running more quietly, with their big fight coming in the fall, we can’t help but be impressed with the civility and respectfulness shown among individuals competing against one another.

Perhaps that was no better illustrated than in the race for the GOP nomination for the Mount Airy District on the Surry County Board of Commissioners.

Five individuals sought that nomination: seven-term incumbent Jimmy Miller, Larry Johnson, Bill Goins, Van Cooke and Allen Poindexter.

Throughout the campaign, including two forums, these five men clearly stated why they were seeking office, what they felt like they could bring to the office, and they they felt they were the best person for the job.

In doing so, they all acknowledged that the county would be in good hands with any of their opponents on the board, and they paid particular homage to Miller for his long years of service to the county.

There were differences in approach and differences of opinion on the issues, but none of the men engaged in personal attacks against his opponents. Not once that we know of.

And after the race there was a decided lack of sour grapes. Johnson, seeking office for the first time, took the nomination with 32 percent of the vote. Miller, who will be stepping down after nearly three decades on the board, was particularly gracious in defeat.

“I feel they (voters) made a good choice, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does,” the outgoing commissioner said. “I really appreciate the votes in years past and the opportunity to serve as a commissioner.”

Such civility and respect is a marked contrast to what we see on the national seen, with one candidate — Donald Trump — who uses intimidation, bullying, and outright personal ridicule to silence his critics and another candidate — Hillary Clinton — who simply ignores the truth and seemingly has no respect for the law or the people whose votes she seeks.

All of the candidates at that level, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders and John Kasich, seem to revel in personal attacks without addressing the issues of the election.

Even closer to home, we’ve seen personal attacks in the most recent Mount Airy election, with candidates taking out-of-bounds personal shots at one another, so much so that now, five months later the bitterness remains, particularly among those who lost and continue to voice sour grapes and blame the losses on everyone but themselves.

We would hope all involved in state, national, and even local elections see how the Surry County candidates have conducted themselves thus far and take a lesson from them.

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