Vote the candidate, not the party |

Vote the candidate, not the party

The current rift between Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Rob Weyher and several of his own party’s leaders clearly demonstrates why local elected offices should be nonpartisan.

With little more than two weeks before Summit County residents go to the polls to whittle down their respective party tickets, the candidates’ platforms have been overshadowed by the antics of the party chairman.

Apparently, Weyher’s political allegiance (and financial support) swings from party to party. In Summit County’s case, that means some of his campaign contributions have fallen to the right of the Democratic Party line. For instance, earlier this year Weyher made a cash donation that ended up in the hands of Bill Miles, a Republican county commission candidate. Certainly that is his prerogative, but not when his own party happens to have a contender in the same race.

Ideally, the two-party system is meant to engender more participation in the process, to bolster promising candidates and to ensure disparate philosophical platforms.

With as little as 10 percent of the electorate expected to turn out for a non-presidential election year primary, a little political pressure can go a long way toward skewing the results. That means the best candidates may not even make it to the general election ballot.

On the national level, party politics makes sense, but on the more intimate city and county levels, voters should have the opportunity to choose the best candidate based on their individual qualifications and positions on relevant local issues not the size of their war chests.

June 27, county residents will have the opportunity to choose between Democrats Kent Jones or Cindy LoPiccolo for the clerk’s seat. They will also decide which Democrat, Barbara Kresser or Ron Perry will go on to face Gene Lambert in the November general election. Also in November, county residents will vote whether to retain incumbent Democratic county commissioner Bob Richer or replace him with Republican challenger Bill Miles.

Summit County is facing a number of critical issues including a potential change from a commission to a council-manager form of government. The decisions do not fall neatly into one political party or the other and the candidates shouldn’t be forced to either.

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