The large type National Enquirer style headline of the Roane County News front page story on the County Road Supervisor race illustrates a great deal of what is wrong with political reporting in today's America. It is entirely speculation with absolutely zero substance: "Crowded Field? Or Political Strategy?"

Four years ago Dennis Fergusen won the three way race for Road Supervisor, beating his nearest opponent, Jim Beason, by 15 points and the last place candidate, Brian Mullins, by 20 points.

This time, Jim Beason had picked up a petition to run again but decided not to and took a part time job with the Road department instead, a position for which Beason has 30 years experience. The Roane County News speculates that Beason was persuaded to give up a $70+ thousand a year job for a $15 per hour part time job.

Really?

Dennis Fergusen as Road Supervisor has run a reasonably effective department with no drama. That makes him, in the realities of the political world, an extremely difficult incumbent to beat.

Beason pointed out what I consider a huge problem with the way Roane County elections are decided. The highest vote getter wins because we have no run-off elections. That fact should have been the focus of the RCN story. In a four person race 26% of the vote can win the election in spite of the fact that 74% of the voters wanted somebody else.

We hold elections in November anyway so there would be little additional expense to taxpayers. It's time for Roane County to require its elected officials to have the support of at least 50% of its voters.

Roane County Should Hold Run-Off Elections.

Here's the RCN story:
(link...)

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