Calling all candidates
Champaign County Democrats are looking for a few good men or women.
It's not easy being the chairman of a local political party, and that's especially so in an election year.
So while congratulations are due to new Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Harrison and the re-elected Democratic Party Chairman Al Klein, so are condolences.
Being a party boss is a little like trying to herd cats. Politically active people usually have minds of their own. Cajoling may work, but coercion never does.
Klein will have to be at his persuasive best as he continues to seek Democratic candidates to fill ballot vacancies in the fall election. He's looking for candidates to take on the longtime incumbent Sheriff Dan Walsh and Treasurer Dan Welch as well as relatively new County Clerk Gordy Hulten.
Two of the three Republicans, Walsh and Welch, appear to be pretty well entrenched in their jobs. After years of working in the office, Welch was elected treasurer in 1998, and he's now seeking his fifth term. Walsh, a lawyer and former police officer, was elected sheriff in 2002, and he's running for a fourth term.
As for Hulten, he was appointed to the clerk's office to fill a vacancy that occurred when former Clerk Mark Shelden resigned in December 2010 and then elected in his own right in 2012. He's seeking a full four-year term this fall and, despite overseeing vote-counting errors in the March primary, would appear to be a formidable candidate for re-election.
It's those political equations that have Democrats who might normally be interested in running for one of more of these offices standing on the sidelines. Running for public office is hard work, and running uphill is even more miserable. So it's understandable why no Democrats have stepped forward.
Still, voters should hope that Klein is successful in his effort to fill these empty ballot slots. It's no offense to the incumbents to suggest that the public is best served by having a choice and that officeholders are always on their best behavior when they are subject to challenge.
Political candidates may prefer to run one-on-none, but it's the best interest of the voters that takes precedence. Good luck.