The Garden City Telegram
10/31/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

FICO attorney

Write-in run gives voters more to consider Tuesday.

Too often in Kansas, where the Republican vote usually overwhelms the Democratic ticket, the election process ends with the primary.

The recent April primary was a prime example, as many seats in the Kansas Legislature in essence were decided when voters chose between GOP hopefuls. Democrats either didn't run or have little chance in Tuesday's general election.

But the process does allow for another option — a write-in candidacy. We're seeing as much in a spirited race for Finney County attorney.

Susan Richmeier, a private practice attorney, ran against and defeated two current staff members in the county attorney's office in the Republican primary.

The runner-up — Deputy County Attorney Brian Sherwood — was passionate enough about his qualifications and desire to continue serving the people of Finney County that he decided to press on with a write-in campaign.

It's a tall order. Write-in candidates' names don't appear on ballots, so they have to hope voters show up and pencil in their name in the space made available. Plus, voters who don't do their homework likely will choose any lone name that appears.

Regardless of the outcome Tuesday, Sherwood's extended campaign at least gave local citizens an opportunity to learn more about how the two would handle the role of chief law enforcement officer in the county.

Richmeier and Sherwood tackled particulars of the office ranging from experience in the courtroom to budgets and expectations of the county attorney position.

Voters should study the candidates' backgrounds and viewpoints, and decide for themselves whether the experience of a veteran prosecutor or a promise to bring a new perspective to the office matters most.

In its primary endorsement, The Telegram sided with Sherwood's experience.

On Tuesday, voters will decide.

Meanwhile, there's no sense in criticizing Sherwood for playing by the rules of any election in choosing to continue his candidacy. And if doing so helped citizens understand issues involving the county attorney's office, better yet.

After all, competition always should be welcome on Election Day. Considering the unfortunate lack of contested races in Kansas general elections, having a choice Tuesday is a good thing.