It’s Friday morning, the sun is shining and next week is filing week.
That might not get a lot of motors running, but for political junkies and journalists it might as well be Christmas. And I gotta tell you this guy can’t wait to open his presents. There are a lot of seats up for grabs, which means this is shaping up to be a big election year for Whidbey Island.
At the risk of ruining my self-imagined public image of professionalism, I admit next week and the months that follow can’t come soon enough. The people, the debates, the shockers and headlines; no self-respecting newsman — the honest ones anyway — can say they aren’t drooling just a little over the fun ahead.
The hardest part is waiting, waiting to find out who is running and who isn’t. Most newspapers can’t, which is why they publish stories ahead of time, spoiling the juicy details before filing week actually begins (see page 1). While most people are upfront about their election plans, there are always a few who keep their intentions secret until the very last minute. Sometimes it’s because they haven’t made up their minds, and in other cases it’s because they want to see who is filing before they make a final, and public, decision.
Waiting until the last minute, especially if it’s to better calculate the odds of a successful bid for office, may be clever political maneuvering but it’s cruel to salivating newspaper editors such as myself. If you’re going to run, run and quit teasing dogs with a bone.
Someone should lobby the Legislature to create an announcement day, which would officially precede filing week. The results, however, would not be posted as candidates announce, but at the end of the day. That way, crafty political hopefuls couldn’t pick and choose which race to enter based on perceived odds — they’d actually have to be upfront about which position/office they really want — and it would eliminate those who are only running if their friends aren’t.
Again, if you want to run, run. And tell everybody about it beforehand. If not a trial run in transparency, it’s at least a mercy to those who can’t wait to find who may or may not be Langley’s next mayor, city council member, school board director, parks commissioner or whatever.