The political season is in full bloom — if that is the proper term for it — with candidates for 2014 state offices off and running, potential presidential candidates for 2016 making appearances here and there, and the filing deadline for city elections coming up on Thursday.

Regarding the presidential election three years from now, remember, nobody is in Iowa by accident.

Regarding the gubernatorial election a little over a year from now, several candidates are jockeying for position.

State Sen. Jack Hatch, the Des Moines Democrat, will announce his candidacy in Clear Lake this afternoon — one of 20, count ’em 20 — locations where he will say essentially the same thing.

His website gives a hint as to one of the issues he will raise with the current governor.

It shows an Iowa State Patrol car following the governor’s vehicle with the caption, “Smokey and the Branstad.”

Campaign season is the time for candidates’ politics, complete with slogans and barbs and what I like to call a bumper-sticker mentality.

Eventually, election day arrives, and that is the day reserved for the people’s politics. The candidates are done talking and it’s time for the people to speak.

We don’t always like or agree with the results, but by and large we get the government we deserve.

Some people fret about how voter turnout is usually low and urge their friends and neighbors to go to the polls.

I have a little different take. I’m not sure I want my public servants elected by a bunch of uninformed, uninterested people who are shamed into voting.

Another thought: The losing side frequently claims to be the victim of low voter turnout, ignoring the possibility that more people voting might mean a bigger margin of victory for the winner.

But I digress. A note of caution to local candidates. It is illegal to campaign in a public building.

Years ago, Mason City Mayor Carl Miller was reprimanded by the state ethics board for giving someone a campaign button in the library.

During a campaign many years ago, then Cerro Gordo County Supervisor Bob Ermer had a stack of 3-by-5 campaign cards on the corner of his desk in the county courthouse.

He hadn’t distributed any but he was cited by the ethics board because just having them on his desk was considered a violation.

- Reach John Skipper at

(4) comments


Mr Skipper-Surely you are not suggesting ethical behavior prevail in local politics?! That would put a local alternative reality 'news' website out of business; a business that happens to be owned by a MC council candidate.
Ethical behavior should trump business interests from local issues to international issues. But where would the 'fun' be in that? What would that teach our children? Why do they need examples of ethical behavior? Don't they go to school?


That's for sure! Not only is this "other" site unethical, the owners and regulars are so full of hatred and anger that it's almost frightening! I guess there's a downside to technology - even the worst of the worst have access to computers


I'll 3rd your opinions.:-) Hence I call them all NIT wits. And not in a good way.....


Another entertaining and well-thought out column, John.

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