No Democratic front, just an ommission

Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2004

By Staff
Arthur McLean
Yes, Virginia, there is a Republican party in Escambia County, though you wouldn't know it from the number of local candidates it managed to field in the county's local elections this June.
In the May 30 edition of the Atmore Advance, we published a sample ballot. Our intention was to provide a general visual representation of what the voter would likely see when coming to the polls Tuesday. We also wanted to be sure our local candidates for school board, District Attorney and County Commission were present on that ballot.
In trying to meet both of those goals in the space available, we published a copy of the sample ballot for the Democratic primary races.
Since then, we've heard from a few people upset that we published the Democratic ballot, without publishing the Republican ballot as well.
I was personally on the receiving end of a contention that this was some "calculated" move on our part to diminish the county's Republican Party.
I can assure you that is not the case.
You see, we are a community newspaper, and being such, we are focused on the residents of Atmore and its surrounding communities. We have neither the resources nor the people to begin covering the complete array of national and statewide races that took place on June 1. And I don't think we should attempt it.
During this primary election, we were focused on our local officials whose offices will directly affect our lives and businesses and the education of our children here in the Atmore area.
Considering that the primary would end up being THE election for those seats, I think we were right to focus on those races.
But in doing so, we lost sight of the larger scope of the June 1 primary. As one caller rightly pointed out – and I agree – we could have included at least a fuller listing of candidates, both Republican and Democrat.
As we lost sight of the larger scope of the primary races, some people, focusing on one issue of interest to them, often lose sight of the larger scope of newspaper work.
To look at one issue of the Atmore Advance, and conclude that it is some sort of front for the Democratic Party, is laughable at the very least.
I want to encourage the Republican Party in Escambia County to continue its efforts and grow, if for nothing else than to provide the voters of this county a choice. I'm always bothered when I see a county's political arena so dominated by a single party of any stripe.
I'm not sure if it should be called an oversight, but I'm certain it can't be called "calculated."
It shows we're human, but it doesn't make me the second coming of James Carville or get me a membership in the "elitist liberal media" clubhouse.
Arthur McLean is the Editor of the Atmore Advance.

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