Opinion: You can run behind the “D,” but you can't hide

By Sheila Gilmore —

Disappointing.

Discouraging.

Those are a few of the words that I've been throwing around recently.

As the County Chair for the Republican Party here in Culberson, I am anxious to be part of the election process and provide a real choice for those who may not have had a choice before. In the past, there has been only one Party and no choice for those who wanted to be on the ballot. However, this time there was a choice… and candidates still acted as if there wasn't – whether they leaned toward more conservative political values or not.

Stumped. That is what I am right now. When asking a few why no one wanted to be on the Republican ballot, I was told several times “They feel that they won't be elected if they don't sign on as a Democrat.” I don't get it.

First, we are having a Joint Primary, which is highly recommended by the Secretary of State for a County of our size. Therefore, all of the ballots will be available in the same place to any who might come to vote, whether in early voting or on Election Day. If voters know their candidate of choice, they would simply vote for that person on whatever ballot they appeared.

Second, those of us who would like to have a vote in the Republican Senate, Congressional and Governor's races (we are, after all, a Red State), would be able to vote for those candidates as well. As it stands, our local populace doesn't have a choice – we either vote for our local candidates and are forced to vote on the Democratic ballot or vote for the state races and not able to vote at all for any local candidates.

Third, if one or more candidates were on the Republican ballot, they would have stood a really good chance of winning the Republican race. They would then have been able to campaign until November when they would take on their Democratic opponent in the General Election — where everyone can vote either Party (whether they voted Democrat or Republican in the Primary).

Some of our local candidates could have benefited from a longer campaign. In this case, after the Primary, the winners in our local races will be decided and no one will get any extra chances in November.

Finally, it seems a little dishonest to me. If you are a Conservative or a Republican and you signed onto the Democratic ballot in order to win, what other “fudging” are you willing to do to win? If you signed up as a Democrat, you represent their ideals, right? If you don't support their ideals, isn't it a little deceptive to say you are a Democrat just to get votes?  I think that several of our local candidates didn't explore all of their options.

“A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.” – Ronald Reagan, CPAC address, 1975

Sincerely,

Sheila Gilmore

Republican County Chair