As one who can quickly run low on patience when it comes to politics, I think it’s only fair to at least acknowledge a high-profile race when it is conducted in an appropriate manner.
This race was for top office in our area’s largest city, Florence. The mayoral race involved four candidates: Mickey Haddock, John Hargett, Billy Ray Simpson and Rick Singleton. They were trying to win a seat being vacated by Bobby Irons, a two-term mayor who did not seek re-election.
Most people assumed the winner would be Haddock or Singleton, a realization that Simpson and Hargett likely admitted to themselves long before Tuesday’s election. It turned out that way.
Now, there were some things done and said by supporters of the two candidates that crossed the line and were even childish in at least one case I’m aware of, but Singleton and Haddock stayed above that level. It appears they sent the non-compromising message to their campaign workers that they were not going to tolerate the bull that we so often see in political campaigns.
Both candidates appeared to stick with what they brought to the table in terms of experience and ideas instead of blaming the other for the city’s problems. They told people what they planned to do, not what the other guy couldn’t do.
We never saw or heard either candidate distort the facts, make them up or down right lie about their opponent. We received a huge dose of that kind of campaigning last week at the Republican convention and we’ll get another huge dose this week when Democrats gather in North Carolina.
Obviously, that approach works or politicians would stop it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. The tactic will continue to work until voters start doing their homework instead of allowing themselves to be brainwashed and told what to think.
Haddock and Singleton stayed above that approach. It speaks well of each man’s character and class.
When the day was done and Haddock had secured the victory, Singleton called him to offer congratulations. He also went to City Hall where supporters from both sides had gathered and extended his hand for a more formal “good job and congratulations.”
Singleton certainly did not like losing, but he was classy every step of the way. He offered to help in any way he could, and Haddock graciously accepted his comments and praised Singleton’s efforts as well. Even locally, we saw losing candidates who showed something other than their class Tuesday night.
As it turned out, Florence residents had what they considered two good choices.
With any luck, the Haddock-Singleton race will be an example for others to follow. The guys running for president could learn from this example.