Editor, The Spotlight:
My name is John Clarkson, and I am now the candidate of the Democratic and Conservative parties for Town Supervisor in Bethlehem.
I want to thank all those who voted in the primary elections last week, including those who chose me as their candidate, and those who did not. Choice is vital to democracy, but so is participation.
This was the first-ever Democratic primary for Town Supervisor, giving the Party’s voters direct involvement in choosing their candidate. Conservative Party voters also had an “Opportunity to Ballot” contest – essentially a write-in primary.
Participation in last week’s primary elections was good. Among registered Democrats, 26 percent turned out (not including absentees). Usually about a quarter of Party voters participate in statewide primary elections, with multiple contests for statewide offices such as attorney general, governor, U.S. senator, etc. Bethlehem Town voters matched that proportion this year for a single Town office, which is really pretty amazing. And 20 percent of registered Conservative Party voters turned out for their write-in primary – even more impressive, in a way.
Each year newspapers and civic organizations advocate for voters to turn out, and we’d probably all like to see higher participation (i.e., higher than 25% for primaries and roughly 40 percent for local elections). Well, let’s keep that in mind, but let’s also be appropriately thankful that the Bethlehem voters eligible to vote in this year’s primary stepped up and exercised their right to choose candidates.
On November 8, all Bethlehem voters will be able to choose among candidates for Town Supervisor, Town Board and other elective offices.
In the weeks to come, I will be asking voters of all parties (and including those who choose not to register in a Party) to consider me as a candidate for Town Supervisor. I will continue to share my views on our Town’s budget, on shared services and modernization, and on the need for more cooperation and less divisiveness in Town politics and government.
Now that the primary is behind us, I am back out walking Bethlehem streets, meeting voters, and I hope to meet as many of you as I can. This is my first run for office, and I am enjoying it very much. Thank you again.
More information is available online – clarkson2011.org – and you can contact me via email: email@example.com or by phone at 439-5418.