Pattye Benson

Community Matters

negative campaigning

PA State House 157 Race — No further comments accepted for candidate question #3!

No further comments will be accepted in response to candidate question #3.

In August, when I approached State House 157 candidates about a candidate forum, I envisioned a much different outcome than has evolved. I designed thoughtful, engaging questions that I thought would be representative of important issues to this community. I stated that I would not edit the candidate’s responses, and as moderator, I would not weigh in with my opinion. Presumably seeing no value in this process, candidate Warren Kampf chose not to participate. However, incumbent candidate Paul Drucker returned his responses to my questions. At the time, I questioned whether I should go forward with the Candidate Question and Response forum with Paul’s responses (without Kampf’s participation). Ultimately, I moved ahead with the forum, deciding that Paul Drucker should not be penalized because Warren Kampf declined to participate.

I now recognize that my vision for this candidate forum was naïve. Rather than tolerant, respectful dialogue that discussed the questions and candidate response, I had the task of reading and uploading some of the most negative partisan, personal attacks than I could have imagined. Many comments were not on topic and some remarks lacked civility and respect. It is my opinion that the partisan, negative remarks were evenly distributed between both sides.

Having a strong opinion (from personal experience) on political misinformation and campaign negativity, I have chosen to accept no further comments on candidate question #3. I view negative campaign remarks in a negative light. These comments do not focus on substantive issues or policies but rather tend to focus on personality. This type of negative approach may motivate the base of support of each of the candidates but I think it could also alienate centrist and undecided voters from participating on Election Day – and possibly reduce the low voter turnout even lower.

On Monday, October 11, I will post candidate question #4 and will accept comments. If the comments remain on the question’s topic, I will continue to accept comments until the following Monday.

Thank you.

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