There is a primary election in Virginia on Tuesday, but you wouldn’t know that in Henry or Patrick counties. All is quiet on the election front.
That’s because no challengers emerged in any of the statewide partisan races that affect our electorate: primarily the state senate and house races that are so important to everyday life in the commonwealth.
And that’s a very sad thing.
This is not to suggest that any incumbent is unworthy of office. The Bulletin does not endorse candidates in any elections, so please don’t think this is a suggestion that representation of our counties has been inadequate.
But we do endorse wholeheartedly the concept of diverse voices and choices being a part of every election cycle.
As a collective we never will move forward with our best decisions without being sure those representing us align with our collective needs and perspectives.
That’s why we need choices, and that’s why walkover victories by incumbents – no matter who that person is – are a detriment to good government.
You want and deserve options. The status quo may be the best one, but you need to know that for sure, by your choice, not by process.
But that’s where we are.
Until November, you will be silenced on every election. Are you happy with that silence?
Certainly we don’t need Kentucky Derby-sized fields like the Republicans generated for president in 2016 and the Democrats are surpassing for 2020. Those are too many options. But a few voices from different corners of the political spectrum would be welcome.
On state and national levels we have seen the trend that some incumbents are challenged in their own parties because they are not sufficiently liberal or conservative. And we guess that’s a fair balance. Most voters are in the middle, and the best candidates tend to understand that. But the middle is defined by the extremes. We need to know where those extremes are delineated.
When it comes to the general election in November, you will have choices in some local races but only one so far statewide.
State documents show that state Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), state Rep. Les Adams (R-Chatham) and state Rep. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin County) are running unopposed. Rep. Danny Marshall (R-Danville ) in District 14 does have a Democratic opponent.
And that’s somewhat the product of a partisan equation. Gerrymandering of legislative districts often distributes political options the way the party in control wants those options distributed.
We think gerrymandering is evil and dilutes our voting power, no matter which party employs that tactic, and perhaps that’s why there are so few challengers to our status quo.
Technically voters from Henry County have four representatives in Richmond. Whether the broader number is a good thing is debatable, but we tend to look at it like this:
None of those representing Henry County voters actually lives in Henry County. Ditto Patrick County. Your vote is controlled by someone more beholding elsewhere.
We would prefer if our county were to have the support of someone who has roots here, someone who reflects the full electorate of our cities and counties and who doesn’t use district limes to dilute that voice. The problem is worse in Congress.
But that won’t be repaired until the entire process of drawing those lines is given to independent processes that don’t include party affiliation, in which every vote is equal. We wait to hear from the U.S. Supreme Court to do the right thing with that concept.
In the meantime, all we hear is a lot of silence. And that’s bad.