Elections on any level can be bruising affairs, so it’s a nice change of pace to see a campaign without accusations, allegations and attacks.
Welcome to Caledonia, where the only mud you’ll see slung comes from the mud flaps of pick-up trucks after a rainy day.
Heck, they don’t even have “A Better Caledonia” group to stoke the fires of mistrust and division.
You almost wonder what the candidates for mayor and board of aldermen even have to talk about.
On Thursday, the town held its first and only candidates forum, where both mayor candidates and six of eight board of aldermen candidates made their pitch to voters in the tight-knit community of 1,100 people. Caledonia aldermen are chosen at large, so the top five vote-getters become board members.
It’s an interesting race, as always seems to be the case in Caledonia. An alderman is running for mayor, the mayor is running for alderman and two of five current aldermen are running for re-election. All candidates have deep, deep ties to the community that are counted in generations, not in years.
The margins are almost razor-thin: Four years ago, Mitch Wiggins defeated incumbent mayor Bill Lawrence by a single vote. It is not uncommon for only a handful of votes to determine these races year-in and year-out.
There are also issues that are common to growing pains -— annexation, establishing town building codes, even beer sales. The issues always evoke strong feelings, but rarely strong words. With few exceptions, candidates deport themselves with civility. They may not agree, but somehow they are not disagreeable.
Thursday’s forum fit that pattern. The general impression is that all of the candidates have a genuine interest in the welfare of their town and want to work together to achieve that goal.
We wish that were true in all our municipal elections.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.