Editorial: Candidates line up to file
OK, armchair politicos. If you believe you could run our county, state or nation better than the people in charge now, it’s time to stop talking and start doing.
Filing began Monday for local offices from clerk of court to county commissioner, as well as for seats in the General Assembly and U.S. House. If you keep up with the issues, believe your point of view needs better representation and have time to devote to it, consider a run for public office.
Here are some things you might want to know:
• Fees: Right off the bat, you have to have money. The filing fee is 1 percent of the beginning salary for the position being sought — $131.82 for county commission, for example.
• Committees: A lot of paperwork is involved. All candidates are required to set up an election committee and treasurer, who must attend training.
• Party line: If you want to switch party affiliation and then run for office, you may be out of luck. You had to make that change at least 90 days before filing.
• Potential voters: Rowan County has 93,755 registered voters. Republicans comprise the biggest group — 38,013.
• Other affiliations: The majority of Rowan voters are not Republican, though. Democrats number 27,853; unaffiliated voters total 27,509; and Libertarians number 380.
• Party barrier: Unaffiliated candidates have to go the extra mile to get on the ballot — gather enough petition signatures to equal or exceed 1.5 percent of the eligible voters as of Jan. 1. For the county commission, that would be more than 1,400 signatures.
• Gender: Women outnumber men on the registration list, 49,407 to 43,352.
• Every hue: By race, Rowan voters break down like this: white, 72,672; black, 16,634; American Indian, 178; other, 4,271; Hispanic, 1,667.
• No anonymous contributions. Each donor’s name, address, phone number and occupation must by law be recorded. Campaign finance reports are public documents, and the first report is due April 30.
• In the end. Running for and serving in public office will be what you make it. “You reach for the highest goal,” former Mayor Susan Kluttz once said, “and then you’re happy with any improvement you make, and you should celebrate that improvement.” Kluttz wanted to end racism, but the same could be said for any goal. If you have a vision for what this county, state or nation could be, reach for that goal. Run for public office.