In the bottom right hand corner of page 11 of the June 19 edition of the Chronicle Times was a picture of a presidential candidate talking to a local citizen. Yes, we are talking about the 2008 presidential election. For those of you without a strong grasp of time, this is 2006.
The placement of the two-column picture was in as obscure a location as possible in the paper but it wasn't obscure enough.
When I went to take the picture at Danny's Sports Spot, I was hoping that I wouldn't be asked to conduct an interview, which I wasn't. I would have said, as diplomatically as possible, that it was just too damned early to do an article on a candidate for an election in November of 2008. Did I mention that this is 2006?
You can't blame a candidate who has little name recognition for starting early, trying to gain serious consideration as a candidate. That doesn't mean we have to give him serious consideration as a candidate more than two years before the election.
There is also the problem of a candidate getting here too late. The week before the primary elections on June 6, we got a call from someone on the staff of Patti Judge, the current secretary of agriculture who was running for lieutenant governor, the running mate of Chet Culver.
Judge was going to be in Cherokee the next day, Thursday, about 2 p.m. and wanted to be interviewed, or her staff wanted her to be interviewed anyway. I wasn't enthusiastic about interviewing her because I'm never enthusiastic about interviewing a non-local candidate for office and because 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday is our busiest time.
But anyway, a candidate for office who comes through town, any town in the county, gets an interview, unless it is an excessively long time before the election. I agreed to the interview.
As it turned out, I was busier than usual that Thursday, and asked Dan Whitney to conduct the interview. He conducted the interview but also was busy and had some higher priority matters to take care of before writing up the interview.
It was already too late to get the interview story in Friday's paper and if it was going to be in Monday's paper, it would need to be written before early afternoon on Friday. I told Dan that it was all right to not get the article written for Monday's paper and since there is no Tuesday paper, the article didn't appear until Wednesday, after the election.
I'm sure that was not Judge's intent in getting interviewed but I'm not too concerned about not always accommodating the wishes of non-local candidates for office. By the way, Culver and Judge won the primary.
One interview that I surprised myself in agreeing to was an interview in May with Mark Leonard, Republican candidate for secretary of agriculture. I had already interviewed him some months earlier and our unwritten rule about doing an article on a candidate is one article to a candidate, at least only one before the primary and then we might see after that.
A candidate for office might get a picture in the paper more than once by coming through the county repeatedly but there should only be one front page article on the candidate.
I suppose part of the reason I agreed to interview Leonard again was the fact that he was from Holstein, which is in our coverage area, but still, the unwritten policy makes sense and I will try to stick by it in the future. By the way, Leonard also arrived about 2 p.m.
The second article on Leonard (not on the front page) focused on what the conclusion of his campaign had been like, trying to avoid rehashing the same stuff as in the first article, not an easy task.
By the way, Leonard lost the election. Our interviewing decisions seem to neither help nor hurt candidates.
We welcome non-local candidates for office, not very warmly (actually rather grudgingly), but they are welcome, as long as they aren't too early, too late or too often.