I have finally realized why big elections are in November: The candidates and campaign teams are hoping that with the holidays right around the corner, we will all forget how awful and ruthless their campaigns were.
I, for one, can't get the bad taste out of my mouth. Not because I am disappointed with who won, but that the campaigns were once again dirty.
In the governor's race, Dennis Daugaard did a good job of keeping it clean and running a solid campaign. His opponent, Scott Heidepriem, failed the clean campaign test. Heidepriem was justly rewarded for his dirty campaign with a loss. When the race started, I actually thought that Scott Heidepriem was a better candidate. His campaign made the choice to talk about the other guy instead of talking about why Mr. Heidepriem himself was the best choice.
His campaign did have one thing right: It's time! It's time to run clean campaigns; it's time to vote against those who don't run clean campaigns.
We, as voters, have proven in the past that we will hold candidates accountable for their campaign actions. Voters kicked Mark Barnett and Steve Kirby to the curb for their negative and dirty campaigns against each other in 2002. The quiet senator from District 24, Mike Rounds, ran a clean campaign and won decisively in the 2002 primary. As we all know, he won re-election. Good guys (and gals) can finish first.
Now let's talk about the elephant in the room (no pun intended). You know what I am talking about: the South Dakota U.S. House of Representatives race. In this race, neither Republicans nor Democrats can say they ran a clean campaign. As a matter of fact neither Stephanie Herseth Sandlin nor Kristi Noem should feel even remotely good about their campaigns.
Both campaigns can point fingers about who started the fight, but that doesn't work with my kids, so I can't allow it from grown adults who are going to the nation's capital to vote on my behalf. I really wish the independent candidate in this race would have spoken up a little louder throughout the campaign. He wasn't the best candidate, but he had an opportunity to be the Mike Rounds of the election. Unfortunately, most voters didn't even know his name until Election Day.
I am excited about the holidays, and I am sure that I will soon forget about the vulgarities of the last election. I hope that the next time these candidates run for any office, we all remember the way they acted and treated each other in this last election. I will be watching them all really closely, and if they act like little kids again I will be putting them in time-out ... permanently. Bad behavior can not be rewarded; I know this as a parent and a voter.
Cory A. Geffre lives and works in Aberdeen. He is married and has three children. His column appears occasionally on the editorial page. Write to him at the American News, P.O. Box 4430, Aberdeen, S.D., 57402 or e-mail him at email@example.com.