Countdown to campaign
February 1, 2018
We're counting down to the two-week filing period next month for nonjudicial candidates.
Since most of the partisan races in Douglas County will be decided in June, that means we're facing a short, hot campaign of just three months.
Of course, several candidates have already announced, with contested races so far for assessor and county commissioner that should be over in the primary.
That's because we've instituted "Highlander" rules for the primary in partisan offices. Thanks to the new law, "there can be only one" survivor in any given party as a result of the primary.
With the county's substantial Republican majority, that means no matter what other party is represented on the ballot, it's not only probable, but almost entirely certain the Republican will win the general election.
While we wish more voters had a say in the selection of the leaders we feel have the most direct impact on their lives, we've made our peace with the new law.
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The reality is that whenever someone wanted to reduce the electorate down to the Republican base, they would recruit a friendly minor party (and we include Democrats on that list in Douglas) to file, and the result was the same.
Now it's more transparent, and surprises in elections should always be limited to the results, not the procedure.
Primary turnout tends to be low, with even Republicans, the most participatory of parties, coming in at around 50-60 percent.
But if the announcements all turn into filings, we should see a fair amount of drama on all sides of the ballot. And drama generally increases voter interest, and drives turnout.
The four-way sheriff's race is nonpartisan, and will be on everyone's ballot. State races for governor and U.S. Senate will spice up both Republicans and Democrats' ballots.