Jim’s Political Notebook: Recycling apparently a sign of the (campaign) times

Nelson County Gazette

Saturday, March 26, 2022 — As is often the case in small town journalism, there are times that news items and events of interest don’t warrant a full-blown news story. With the May primary election just weeks away, Jim’s Political Notebook will offer politic news items and my personal observations — right, wrong and otherwise.


ITEM: RECYCLE, REUSE IN POLITICS? David Avis, a Democratic candidate for magistrate in District 3, has been getting some good-natured ribbing about his large campaign signs showing up around town and his district.

Those of us who now qualify for the senior discount at Hardees may recognize a familiar theme with his signs. And while Judge Executive Dean Watts isn’t running for re-election, his old campaign signs have found new life, serving to assist David Avis’ campaign. Full disclosure: Watts and Avis are cousins.

Avis did not repaint the entire sign, however; he painted over part of it and added his name and the office he’s seeking. While Watts’ name isn’t there, if you remember what Dean’s signs looked like, you’ll find David’s sign look very, very familiar!

ITEM: CANDIDATE INTERVIEW SERIES. Myself and co-host Margie Bradford will continue our series of candidate interviews on WBRT’s “Bradford & Brooks” right up until the May 17 primary election. Here’s the schedule of candidates to date:

March 30, 2022: Jon Snow, Republican candidate for District 5 magistrate.
April 6, 2022: David Call, Democratic candidate for District 3 magistrate.
April 13, 2022: Toni Wiley, Republican candidate for District 3 magistrate.
April 20, 2022: Ann Marie Williams, Republican candidate for District 5 magistrate.
April 27, 2022: M.T. Harned, Republican candidate for District 3 magistrate.
May 4, 2022: Bill Gentry, Republican candidate for judge executive.
May 11, 2022: David Avis, Democratic candidate for District 3 magistrate.

All interviews will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube and shared on the Nelson County Gazette and WBRT social media sites.

ITEM: CANDIDATE DEBATES. It is unknown if efforts by the county’s two political organizations will be successful in scheduling candidate debates ahead of the May primary. While I understand a desire to be non-partisan and the R’s asking the D’s to be part of the effort, the Democrats have only one primary race in May; the Republicans have five.

I’m no mathematician, but looking at the numbers — 5 to 1 — having debates clearly works in favor of the GOP. In fact, if I was on the Democratic party’s executive committee, I wouldn’t be inclined to expend much energy to assist the opposition party. They want debates? Let them figure it out! But that’s just my view, your mileage may vary.

Don Thrasher’s America First group is also talking about candidate debates. I have been tentatively asked if I wanted to participate in both sets of debates, though the GOP later made it known that if I was involved with the American First debates, I would not be asked to participate in the GOP’s debates.

It was a first for me — the first time a political party pulled me into an intra-party squabble, i.e. the county GOP vs. Don Thrasher’s American First.

I have opted to do what I do best — I’ll serve as a journalist who will cover any primary debates that take place. I will not serve as a moderator, panelist, or political pawn, lol.

ITEM: CANDIDATE SURVEY? While I was getting my equipment packed up at the end of the American First candidate speaking event last month, a gentleman came by and suggested that I publish surveys about the candidates’ views.

He said candidates needed to only answer two questions:

  1. Who won the 2020 presidential election?
  2. What happened on Jan. 6, 2021?

The answers to these two questions would give him all the information he needed to know who to vote for — or against, he said.

The questions also largely define the ongoing fracture in the local and national Republican Party.

On one hand, you have the Donald Trump faithful who say the 2020 election was stolen from him. Many also might suggest that the events of Jan. 6, 2021 were a “peaceful protest.”

Whether they’ll admit it publicly is one thing, but the rest of the party at least understand Donald Trump lost a legitimate election and that Jan. 6, 2021 was a dark day for American democracy and an attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.

There seems to be little common ground for these groups, other than both groups being labeled as “Republicans.” It would be great to see a some healing of this ideological divide, but I won’t hold my breath.

For anyone who believes Jan. 6th was a peaceful protest, the New York Times has an absolutely fabulous investigative piece on Jan. 6, 2021, complete with a timeline of how the events transpired. Check out the Times’ “Capital Riot Investigations.”


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