Candidates must commit before filing

We had high hopes early in this election season triggered by the number of contested races, particularly in Warren. Continually plagued by a seemingly one-party system, election results in this county often are decided in the spring primary, with no opposition come November.

We know, however, choice and competition in the political process is key to a strong democracy and a big part of what makes our nation great. That’s why we now are frustrated and disappointed to see so many candidates drop out of races as Tuesday’s election approaches.

Here’s a sampling of candidates who have withdrawn from Tuesday’s election, including many whose names still will appear on the ballot because they removed themselves after ballots were completed.

Republican Carlo Ciccone withdrew Oct. 16 as a Warren Auditor candidate, leaving Democrat incumbent Vince Flask unopposed.

Republican Ken Perrine withdrew Oct. 3 as a Warren Treasurer candidate, leaving Democrat Tom Letson unopposed. There is no incumbent in the race.

Republican John D. Bain Jr. withdrew Oct. 18 as a Warren Council At Large candidate. Democratic incumbents Eddie Colbert, Helen Rucker and Dan Sferra will face Republican challenger James Walker in the race for three available seats.

Republican Tracy Norah Nasidka withdrew Oct. 2 as a candidate for Warren 1stWard council, leaving Democrat Larry Larson unopposed in the race.

Republican Jason Nelson withdrew Oct. 6 as a candidate for Warren 2ndWard council, leaving Democrat incumbent Alford Novak unopposed in the race.

Then on Friday, Republican candidate John Sterling announced he would withdraw from the 5th Ward council race, leaving Democrat Ken MacPherson unopposed for the seat. There is no incumbent in that race.

Also in Warren, Democrat Mark Forte is unopposed in the race for Warren’s 4th Ward council seat; incumbent Democratic 6th Ward councilwoman Cheryl Saffold is unopposed; and Council President Jim Graham, a Democrat, is unopposed for his seat.

Contested races remain in Warren’s 7th Ward between Democrat incumbent Eugene Mach II and Republican challenger Frank Naypaver; and in the city’s 3rd Ward, where Democrat incumbent John Brown is being challenged by Republican Nickolas Bellas.

Before ever committing to political candidacy, individuals must gain a good understanding of the process and expectations. They must be willing to answer questions of the public and the media. They must be able to state their priorities and fight for what they believe, proving they are truly up for the challenge.

If a political party is encouraging candidacy, they must ensure their candidates have been schooled on the expectations. They must not circulate petitions and land on the ballot with no expectation of winning or speaking out.

Candidates who aren’t really serious about the campaign, yet still file petitions, simply waste the time of other candidates, election officials and the voters.