Letter to the Editor

Can't run for office

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Editor,

(Friday), I took all my paperwork to the Red Willow County Clerk's office and was prepared to file to run in the election for sheriff. After a few minutes there, I learned that as an Independent (now referred to as a Non-Partisan) candidate, I would not be allowed to run in the election. The sheriff's position is reserved for Republicans and Democrats only, by Nebraska state law. Additionally, the deadline had passed for me to change parties. In November of last year, I went to the courthouse to learn what I needed to run for sheriff. I was informed that I would be required to pass a background check and a basic English comprehension test. I passed both of those with no problems and had the paperwork in hand. The comment made to me yesterday, as I stood there in disbelief, was, "I never would have thought you would be running as a Non-Partisan so I didn't check." I contacted the State of Nebraska immediately after leaving the court house to be told it was my responsibility to know all of this information. Did I fail to mention that the County Clerk's office was scurrying through books trying to find the correct answer for me and had left a message with the State of Nebraska to call them with an answer? So, if the County Clerk's office didn't know the answer, how was I to know? Doesn't matter, because as with most government agencies, they know how to put the blame back on someone else.

Anyone in town or the county who knows me, knows I served in the military and did two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is nice to learn that after all those years of service to my country and in defending those rights and freedoms it provides, I am not allowed to participate in the process I protected. Thank you Nebraska senators for your stupidity, corruption, and furthering of the good old boy system.

I appreciate everyone who asked me to run and those who said I had their vote. Not only did the state of Nebraska take away my right to run for sheriff, they took away your choice of whom you can vote for. They have violated our civil rights and the sad part is we voted for them.

David C. McConnell,

SSG, USA Retired


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  • Agreed, it is disheartening. So, why don't you pass this example along to our Senators and get a new Bill introduced and passed allowing "non partison" individuals to run for office? Don't let this stop you, move forward in your qwest and you might achieve greater things and freedom for all of us "non partisans". It's not that we don't share either a Democrats view or a Republican's view...we actually share both. We look at things individually and decided upon them with their merit = NOT POLITCAL VALUE!

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 1:04 PM
  • Is there a possibility that you can change your party now and run as a write-in candidate? I know that you have to have so many signatures on a petition to run as a write-in, but it would be worth a try!

    -- Posted by Small Town Resident on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 2:46 PM
  • More proof this is no longer a country with a government by the people, it is a country with people for the government.

    What a bunch of bull$#@$%#!

    -- Posted by Justin76 on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 4:02 PM
  • write in???????

    -- Posted by plainsman on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 4:59 PM
  • I did my time and fought the fight. When I went to the county clerk's office in November, I asked for EVERYTHING needed to run in the sheriff's election. I asked for their help, because I can't know all of Nebraska's election laws. They have the resources. As you can see, two laws were conveniently left out of the information provided. My opportunity to change parties expired at the beginning of December. Besides the incompetence displayed by the county clerk's office, my other complaint is why are ANY political offices restricted by the state of Nebraska to Democrats and Republicans only?

    -- Posted by David Mac on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 5:01 PM
  • Final note. I can run in the general election if I get enough signatures on a petition. Another example of hurdles placed in the path of a common, law abiding citizen who chooses to be non-partisan. Republicans and Democrats aren't required to do this. Why is everyone else? Reminds me of the Jim Crow Laws.

    -- Posted by David Mac on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 5:04 PM
  • Please run as a write in. I will personally carry the petition.

    -- Posted by big32bubba on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 5:48 PM
  • David I may never support you in the Election but I'd carry a petition to get you on the ballet. Good luck.

    -- Posted by Meshedup on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 5:49 PM
  • Run as a write-in! I feel by all the buzz around that we need a change. This is a start. Good luck!!

    -- Posted by edbru on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 7:41 PM
  • Sounds like another bill the State senators have been playing with and improving. lol

    Looks like the Sate of Nebraska and county clerks office should have had the answer.

    Best of luck Mac.

    -- Posted by Just a reader on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 10:05 PM
  • This is absolutely disgusting, David. Not only the fact that the county clerk didn't know that information, but that anyone would even devise an idiotic rule like that. Get the petition going and get on the ballot. It may be a lot of extra work, but you need to decide if it's worth fighting for.

    -- Posted by davejavu on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 9:33 AM
  • What a shame, I would never have expected the state would have such archaic laws. The Sheriff should be of all things totally nonpolitical. You should get in touch with Chris to introduce a bill to correct this.

    -- Posted by geewhiz on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 10:26 AM
  • Breaking news flash. Talked with the State this morning and since I am not affiliated with a party, the December deadline has nothing to do with my filing. I can affiliate myself with the Republican or Democratic Party today and file to run for Sheriff. There was a misunderstanding of the laws at the county clerk's office. The campaign is back on.

    -- Posted by David Mac on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 10:41 AM
  • Just be wise in who you decide to affiliate yourself with. Good luck David.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:28 AM
  • What a stupid law. i am a partisan but shutting someone out because the have neither an R or a D by their name is ridiculous. Good luck if I lived in RW county I would vote for a change there. Too many unsolved murders and sexual assaults there, hmm sounds like an ad or a slogan David

    -- Posted by Chaco1 on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:36 AM
  • OK - so now who do we get to run for County Clerk? Still seems like you shouldn't have to register as Republican or Democrat to run for County Sheriff.

    -- Posted by mccook mom on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:53 PM
  • David,

    Just another instance of someone falling asleep at the switch.

    Sadly, we know who the someone is.

    This guy who lives in our shoes - John Q. Public.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 8:13 PM
  • "I can't know all of Nebraska's election laws."

    I think if I were going to run for election, I would take the time to educate myself on Nebraska's election laws instead of blaming someone else for my ignorance of the law. I support the right to run for election as an independent and support a change in the law. If I vote for a candidate for sheriff, I would expect that candidate to know the laws governing his/her public office and I would be very cautious of a candidate who points fingers at others before an election has even begun. Integrity and accountability are high on my list of requirements for public officials.

    -- Posted by heymicahs mom on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 12:49 PM
  • I believe He stated that he went to the county clerks office to make sure he knew all the laws. Without a law degree I dont know how this law could have been known. This law is an example of big politics. The current sheriff is not the most accountable public official I know. I would hope for a change.

    -- Posted by big32bubba on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 6:08 PM
  • you should waterboard the County Clerk to get the information you want

    -- Posted by Dick on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 7:27 PM
  • A person running for sheriff should educate their self on the election laws and should know them? Does that count for the airport authority and the NRD board too?? Get serious! The county clerk should know the laws! That's their JOB! I believe Mr. McConnell stated that he wanted all the information and requirements available to run. The county clerk didn't do their JOB! They didn't know. Obviously the law needs to be changed in Nebraska. On a national level you can run as an Independent, but not statewide or locally? We need to get up to speed here!

    -- Posted by n2mystic5315 on Thu, Jan 28, 2010, at 4:03 PM
  • The way Mr. McConnell handled himself throughout this process is sickening. Can you imagine this guy in the courtroom acting like this? A person cannot fly off the handle and whine, finger point and blame everyone else when things don't go their way. There is no way this guy has the professionalism or the tact to take on a big job like being the Sheriff of Red Willow county. He reminded me of a little baby throwing a temper tantrum when he found out he could not run. Mr. McConnell, you should have thanked the courthouse staff for trying to save you the money and the embarassment of running for sheriff against a well thought of gentleman. Get out this election day and vote for Gene.

    -- Posted by homebuilder on Fri, Jan 29, 2010, at 10:20 PM
  • It looks to me like "homebuilder" would rather berate someone for their disagreement with a problem rather than address the issue that created the problem. Perhaps he or she doesn't want their prefered cantidate to have to face an opponent who views situations with down to earth common sense.

    Part of the problem with politics in this country is the very idea that we only have two choices in platform and party. While this makes it easy for many to vote without knowing exactly who they are voting for, one has to make compromises to an extreme as not many people agree whole heartedly with one political platform or the other.

    Regardless last I checked the position of a sheriff isn't a political appoitment but an elected one and no political partie(s) should have exclusive access to the position. Furthermore accecibility of information regarding election process is of prime importance.

    Was Mr. McConnell's letter somewhat incidieary? Absolutely, as it should be any time a citizen in good faith tries to participate in any governmental process and is ultimately denied by red tape entangled methods designed to exclude the average citizen from taking an active role.

    -- Posted by thecoat on Sun, Jan 31, 2010, at 4:39 PM
  • I would say that this was handled perfectly. Bring these kinds of problems to the people rather than a smoky room where deals are made. By the way how are those unsolved murder and sexaual assault investigations going homebuilder?

    -- Posted by Chaco1 on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 10:45 AM
  • Chaco1- Those have nothing to do with the sheriffs department. That is a city investigation and I guess they cannot find evidence enough for a convistion. Get your facts straight before you start blaming.

    -- Posted by homebuilder on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 11:26 AM
  • conviction not convistion--typo

    -- Posted by homebuilder on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 1:04 PM
  • You are right homebuilder I stand corrected.

    -- Posted by Chaco1 on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 5:29 PM
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