Republicans are a good thing

Published 6:41 pm Saturday, February 20, 2010

I’ve used this space in the past to make it clear that I am, have been and intend to remain a Democrat.

While I certainly don’t agree with all the stances of the party and sometimes don’t even vote for the Democratic candidate, my choice is and has been to remain in the Democratic fold.

Having said that, what is happening this year in local filings for office is a good thing. There are Republicans who are filing against Democrats across the region.

There have been a handful of Republicans that have filed for county commissioners, sheriff and state senate. There will even be a local Republican primary in Bertie County since two members of that party have filed for sheriff.

So why would a lifelong Democrat be excited about having Republicans file for office? It’s simple: choice.

While I believe that most of our local leaders have the best interest of citizens at heart, it is never a good thing when people are simply allowed to continue their service or even start service without there being an opportunity for people to choose who they want to serve.

The idea of having an option has served North Carolina well at the national and state levels. We’ve had both parties in office in Raleigh and in our congressional delegation. In fact, we currently have one member of each part in the United States Senate and very close to an even split in the U.S. House of Representatives.

While it hasn’t happened often, the state has elected a Republican governor and control of both state houses has been in the hands of each party.

That has rarely trickled down to elections in eastern North Carolina, however, where the Democratic primary often serves as the only level of competition for office on the rare occasion there is competition.

This November, people will make their way to the polls. They will cast their ballot for local as well as state and national officials because there will be a choice from both parties.

No matter who your choice is for political office or what your party affiliation, you should be glad to have an opportunity to cast a ballot that matters in November instead of just ensuring the one candidate gets the required votes to win.

The fact is many of the people in eastern North Carolina consider themselves Republican no matter whether they are affiliated with that party or not. Those people may or may not choose to support a Republican candidate, but at least they can if they want.

Likewise, those who are Democrats but are unhappy with their party’s choice for office can cast a vote for the “other guy” so to speak.

The only way that works, however, is if those who are affiliated with the Republican Party file for office. For the first time in recent memory, more than just one random candidate has done that.

The result is that people in the eastern part of the state will have a choice this November. That’s a good thing no matter whether you vote for those alternatives or not.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.