North Carolina voters face plenty of important decisions at the polls this year, from county commissioners and sheriffs, to state legislators and members of Congress, to the choice at the very top of the ballot – U.S. Senate.
All of those elections are critical to the future of North Carolina. Candidates in every race will be asked to discuss their thoughts and positions on issues that reflect our values and the way we want to live.
The background of each candidate and his or her responses to issues and questions should be the most important factors in consideration as voters begin casting their ballots.
Yet, even as we sit around the kitchen table and compare the qualities of Candidates A, B and C, many of the issues that will drive the debate in the biggest race in the state this year will be flown in from somewhere else.
Already, outside interests have poured millions of dollars into yet another mud fest of television campaign ads.
Americans for Prosperity began airing commercials in 2013 that attacked U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat.
Patriot Majority USA has begun airing ads that attack N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican.
Tillis has yet to win the GOP nomination to face Hagan in November. But that hasn’t stopped Patriot Majority from going after the guy it presumes will be the nominee.
The outsiders have put a high value on the Senate race here – not because they have any understanding or connection with the values or issues that are so important to the people of this state. They simply regard the seat as an important number in the race to see which party controls the U.S. Senate in Washington.
North Carolinians have good reason to pay attention to the issues championed and discussed by candidates seeking the Senate seat – no matter who they might be. But it’s just as critical to shape the decisions we make this year based on what’s important to us.
The barrels of cash sent in by outside interest groups have a way of clouding that picture.
All the more reason to ignore the television ads and pay attention to what the real candidates are saying and doing.