October 14, 2020 10:40:14 AM
In an era where state and national elections seem more toxic with every passing cycle, the election cycle that ended Tuesday was indeed a breath of fresh air.
Starkville businessman Bart Williams and Lynn Wright, a retired educator from Lowndes County were chosen to join the Mississippi Legislature during special election runoffs Tuesday evening.
Williams will represent District 15 in the Senate, filing the unexpired term of Gary Jackson, who retired at the end of the 2020 legislative session while Wright will serve as the District 37 House of Representatives, replacing Gary Chism, who also retired earlier this year.
Williams defeated Joyce Yates of Eupora in the runoff while Wright turned back fellow Lowndes County resident David Chism.
Those four candidates emerged from the Sept. 22 election to earn their spots in the runoff.
Throughout the long campaign, there was little trace of the acrimony that so often accompanies state and national elections. All of the original seven candidates in the two races focused on what they have to offer rather than any perceived flaws of their competitors. That seems to us a far more healthy approach to what is, after all, a job interview.
In private business, an employer would be horrified if a job candidate were to spend his time during a job interview running down other candidates. The employer would expect the candidate to make his or her case for the job and focus on what they could do to make the company better.
We are happy the candidates in these races took the latter approach.
We were also pleased with another aspect of Tuesday's election. Three of the four runoff candidates were seeking office for the first time. Only Wright, who was twice elected as school superintendent, had ever held elected office.
While Williams proved to be the only "newcomer" elected Tuesday, we applaud the other five candidates who ran for these offices. With municipal elections approaching next year, we look forward to seeing a diverse, energetic slate of candidates for those elections as well.
We congratulate Williams and Wright on their success and thank all of the other candidates, who may have fallen short of their goal, but added their voices and ideas to the process.
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