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Larry Lough

Not following campaign? We got you covered

Quiet. Too quiet.

With few exceptions, the candidates on Tuesday’s ballots are definitely lying low.

And voters have to be suspicious about candidates who figure their best chance of getting elected is not to get too well known.

But maybe they’re all running stealth campaigns, waging door-to-door political combat to get their message out.

Nah. They’re being too quiet.

WE’VE SEEN ONLY a few small newspaper ads.

And heard only a few brief radio spots.

And seen maybe one political billboard.

The campaign of 2013 has been undercover, underground, and flying under the radar.

This newspaper has tried to do its part.

For the past couple of weeks we have been publishing stories to profile the candidates and issues on the ballot.

We have published dozens of letters from candidates and voters who have advice about who should be elected.

And we had several candidates in contested races accept our invitation to write guest columns for the Opinion page so that voters can get more familiar with their ballot choices.

If you have missed any of the coverage, go to and scroll down to the “Elections” button – it’s right under the video of the Rock Falls candidates’ forum.

There you will find our campaign reports from recent editions.

We hope that helps.

YOU KNOW IT’S going to be a kooky election when you get only two candidates for mayor of Rock Falls but five candidates for Palmyra Township road commissioner.

Among the mysteries of the campaign of 2013 is the low profile of candidates for Dixon School Board in the wake of a 9-day teachers strike.

With all of the issues – and challenges – facing public education these days, wouldn’t you think the campaign for a majority of the seven seats on the Dixon board would generate some buzz?

If you read the report in our Friday editions, you learned that only a dozen people showed up at a forum for school board candidates Thursday night at Loveland Community House.

But then, only two-thirds of the six candidates were there to discuss the issues and answer questions. (Yes, you have to do the math.)

Although the proposed 1 percent sales tax for schools went down in flames last November, it’s back this spring – with the support of the four candidates (two incumbents) at Thursday’s forum.

Perhaps strangest of all, with all of the opposition to that tax in Dixon last fall, not one of those many vocal opponents of the tax is on the school board ballot to make it an issue.

No, we hear no roar from voters this spring.

But we do detect a yawn.

FOR STARK CONTRAST between the elections in November and April, you can look at two things.

Tuesday’s voter turnout.

And the Lee County campaign for a 1 percent sales tax for schools.

This past November, more than 70 percent of Lee County’s registered voters cast a ballot in a presidential election year.

In Whiteside County, nearly 57 percent voted.

This spring – we’ll be lucky to see 20 percent.

But then, how many people could tell you the name of their township supervisor?

Or whether he is in a contested election this spring?


LOW VOTER TURNOUT might be the stealth campaign strategy for proponents of that increase in the local sales tax.

That same question of a tax increase – of 1 percentage point, or 1 cent on the dollar for most non-grocery, non-prescription drug purchases – is on the ballot in Lee, Whiteside and Ogle counties this year.

The Lee County proponents, selling the idea of a sports and activities complex, campaigned hard last fall with big newspaper ads and several billboards.

But tax increases are seldom popular with voters, so the worst time to try to get one passed is when voter turnout is high – like a presidential election.

Last fall, 6,135 people in Lee County voted for that tax. But that was only 41 percent of the vote.

If they get anywhere near 6,000 people to vote for it Tuesday, it will pass amid a weak turnout.

Timing is everything.

WHATEVER YOUR politics or preferences, make yourself heard Tuesday.

And if you’re reading this column, you probably will vote (or already have).

Newspaper readers are the most informed, most engaged citizens in our community.

We’re proud to have you as customers.

But if you hadn’t planned to vote, think again.

Polls will be open between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Do your duty to our democracy.


Not following campaign? We got you covered shaw-push-component-1