EDITORIAL: Mac gets free election ride

Pardon Mac McDowell for walking around with that big smile on his face. Who can blame the veteran Island County commissioner for feeling giddy after nobody filed to run against him in this fall’s election?

McDowell, a Republican, has done a good job representing the interests of his Oak Harbor constituents over the years, but that doesn’t mean he deserved a free ride to another term. Unfortunately, his only announced challenger, Lionel Peoples, fell victim to redistricting after the 2000 census. He found out after announcing that he no longer lived in McDowell’s district. The Democrats, a small minority party in McDowell’s District 2, couldn’t find anyone else to carry their banner.

Aficionados of local politics are much happier about the District 1 commissioner situation. Long-time incumbent Republican Mike Shelton has a challenger within his own party in Reece Rose, a savvy, well-connected conservative to the right of Shelton philosophically. The winner of their primary battle will face Democrat Dean Enell in the general election. Shelton may feel a bit envious of McDowell, but this is the way politics is supposed to be played.

Issues such as taxation, land use, health services, police coverage and the environment are crucial at the county level and need a thorough public airing at least every four years. Congratulations to all who filed for the commissioner races, and may the best person win.

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