Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the vigorous campaign for mayor of Ashland that has attracted a large and diverse field of candidates for a job that pays virtually nothing and promises more headaches than many more lucrative pursuits. It's reassuring to see so many people willing to put themselves out there for the benefit of their community.

Jeers — to the negative tone of political action committees that are taking sides in Ashland races this year.

Cheers — to the huge numbers of young Americans who have registered to vote in this election. It's reassuring to see the next generation energized and motivated to help choose those who will lead our government.

Jeers — to Circuit Court judge candidate Joe Charter for campaign ads quoting editorials in this paper. The quotes are accurate as far as they go. One is from three years ago that briefly mentioned Charter in the course of discussing changes in the Jackson County Justice Court. The other is from our editorial this month on the county clerk's race, in which we said experience mattered in that nonpartisan office. Naturally, Charter's ad neglects to note that we endorsed his opponent, not him.

Cheers — to the Oregon candidates for U.S. House and Senate seats who took the Political Courage Test sponsored by Project VoteSmart, a nonpartisan voter education group that asks candidates to fill out a questionnaire telling voters where they stand on key issues. In Oregon, 63 percent of congressional candidates took the test, the third highest participation rate among all 50 states. Among those participating were Republican Sen. Gordon Smith and his Democratic challenger, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley. Both deserve credit for that. But read on:

Jeers — to Oregon's incumbent members of Congress with little or no fear of defeat who don't have the guts to tell voters where they stand. Smith is the only incumbent to answer the Political Courage Test questionnaire, and he's the one most likely to lose his re-election bid. Among the incumbents who didn't take the test was our 2nd District Rep. Greg Walden, who hasn't faced an effective challenge since he took office. What does he have to lose?

Cheers — To state House candidate Pete Belcastro, who is running a decent, positive campaign with little hope of success because he believes voters deserve a choice. Running as an Independent, he's up against popular incumbent Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, in a district with a sizable Democratic registration edge, and he's doing it without resorting to character assassination or other mud-slinging. Bravo.

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