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PIONEER EDITORIAL: Thank you, candidates, for giving us the chance to choose

This may seem a tad odd, but I want to take a moment during this post-election week to say “thank you” to all the candidates who didn’t win in the election on Tuesday. Not because you lost, but because you chose to run in the first place.

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Annalise Braught is a photographer and editor at the Pioneer.
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This may seem a tad odd, but I want to take a moment during this post-election week to say “thank you” to all the candidates who didn’t win in the election on Tuesday.

Not because you lost, but because you chose to run in the first place.

All the time, candidates are congratulated on winning. They’re interviewed, advertised and praised for their accomplishments. But I woke up Thursday morning thinking about all those who arguably spent every bit as much time, effort — and probably money — investing in a race they lost.

Who is thanking them?

While that might not seem like a priority to some, I find it crucial. We need people to run in our elections. We need the opportunity to choose who we want in positions all the way from the local school board and city council races to our state’s governor.

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As I was writing a city council follow-up story on Wednesday afternoon, I came across a quote from the losing party about why he chose to run for office in the first place. It read: “It’s important to have choice in our elections, that’s one of the things that makes our democratic system healthy and strong.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Having various backgrounds, ages, educations and perspectives are what makes elections great in this country. We can talk to candidates about their thoughts, ideals, plans and goals and know who we are backing to lead us for the next several years.

As Americans, this is a luxury we take for granted all too often.

It can be frustrating when there is an incumbent we may not like or feel best represents us, but they run unopposed so we are stuck with them again by default. All because no one chose to step out and take a chance on running to give us another option.

On the opposite extreme, this year we had 23 people file for positions on the Bemidji school board, which might possibly be a record-breaking number for any race in Minnesota, or at least close to it.

While it definitely made the choice of who was best to elect harder than ever before, it’s essential to recognize the importance of that problem. We had so many options, some of them better than others, sure, but choices nonetheless.

The vast number of candidates led residents to talk more about the school board in this town during the past few months than they probably ever have and maybe ever will again. Awareness was raised and many had a strong stance on who they were voting for and why — not something that always happens in elections.

Following the election, I talked to a friend who had run for public office. She was trying to stay upbeat about her defeat but was disappointed. She lost money on her race, put in a lot of work and now may feel she has nothing to show for it. Let’s make sure that she and all the other candidates know that isn’t the case.

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So to the losers, don’t give up hope just because you lost. You made that choice for a reason — because you care about your community. Please keep caring, investing and trying to make a difference. Your community appreciates it.

You gave us the best gift one can have in a democracy: the privilege to choose.

Annalise Braught is a photographer and editor at the Pioneer. She can be reached at (218) 333-9796 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.

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Related Topics: ELECTION 2022
Opinion by Annalise Braught
Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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