Ugly precedents set in election

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

To the Editor:

It is with chagrin that I observed the preludes to [last week]’s City Council elections in Suffolk.

Historically, elections for Suffolk City Council have been free of partisan politics and party labels. This is one of the main reasons elections were held in May. In recent memory no political party in Suffolk has made an official public statement endorsing a candidate for council.

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I must have missed the publication of a citywide call for a meeting of the party, which at the last minute endorsed the losing candidate in the Chuckatuck Borough. Or was this endorsement decided by a few members of a city committee, who changed horses in the middle of the stream? Either way, the endorsement was inappropriate.

Another “first” in this campaign was the hiring of a career political hack from Richmond as a campaign manager. High-powered tactics, such as computer-generated robo-calls and attack letters, may be the order of the day in Virginia Beach or other localities, but they do not sit well with Suffolk voters.

The Chuckatuck Borough candidates both ran unique campaigns. One campaign was financed by donations that reached a financial level unheard in Suffolk, and included a paid out of town manager, robo-calls and mass mailings, while the other candidate took no outside donations, paid his own way and ran his campaign locally.

Because of rumors that were circulated during the last week of the campaign, this candidate was forced to clarify his position by sending a letter to a targeted number of constituents who may have been influenced by unfounded allegations.

This letter was merely an attempt to dispel false information, character assassination and allegations of political affiliations that were incorrect, and in no way impugned his opponent.

It is unfortunate that this letter was lumped with a campaign mailing that may not have been as circumspect and was sent to voters in another borough.

Carol Lynne Shotton