The temperature may now reliably be less than 90 degrees, the longleaf pines are shedding their brown needles in fall’s breeze, and college football’s marquee matches are piling up. For me, that signals that election season is in full throttle.
Reliably each year at this time, roadside signs sprout around our communities, and my inbox begins filling with “I support …” letters to the editor — to which I say, “Bring ’em on, but hurry.”
The letters forum remains a reliable venue for folks to express their own views, whether a one-off about something that strikes their fancy; a mad-as-hell retort to a recent column; or the urge to enter the political fray for lack of any better way to have their position heard.
October reliably brings our way letters about whatever elections are upcoming, and the pros and cons of those running. We have printed six such letters today.
Odd-numbered years are reserved for local municipal elections, and Moore County has got some good ones this year. Our two largest municipalities — Pinehurst and Southern Pines — will elect new mayors, and both races are contested. Likewise, both communities have two seats each open on their respective councils, all of which are contested.
But it’s not just the big kids who have all of the fall fun. Aberdeen has four people running for three seats. Carthage has four running for mayor, though incumbent Lee McGraw recently discovered he’s ineligible after a move earlier this year into an unincorporated part of the town. His name will not appear on reprinted ballots. Carthage also has three running for two council seats.
Pinebluff, though small in size and number, always seems to bring election drama to the table, and this year is no different. It has six residents competing for three four-year terms and two people vying for one seat that has a partial two years remaining.
Even Whispering Pines, whose elections in years past have mimicked the quietude of the village’s name, has a bit of a ruckus. Originally it had four people running for two full four-year terms. Then it had eight people running to fill two seats with partial terms remaining.
Three candidates have since dropped out — though their names remain on the ballot — so that merely leaves nine candidates for four seats.
What does this mean for you? If there’s a candidate running who you like and you want to write a letter expressing that, you need to get on the stick.
Our frequent letter writers know these rules, but many of you don’t, so I repeat them here. All letters are subject to editing. They can be no longer than 300 words. And please pretend you’re writing it like your seventh-grade English teacher is grading it. Spelling, grammar and punctuation matter.
We will be doing our level best to publish every campaign letter we receive by Oct. 27. That is your deadline, because the last issue of the paper in which we will run election-related letters will be Wednesday, Oct. 30.
We have historically not run election letters on the Sunday before election to prevent running anything that might give an edge to any particular candidate ahead of election day. Since Election Day this year is Nov. 5, that means there will be no local election letters in the Sunday Nov. 3 edition.
Letters can be emailed to email@example.com or submitted online at https://www.thepilot.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/. You can type and submit a letter, but I will tell you I am a busy man without an assistant. Letters submitted in a fashion that require me to type them in are going to be low priority.
Depending on how many letters start coming in, you might see us running fewer opinion columns to accommodate the letters. If you miss out on a favored columnist, fear not; they’ll return after the election.
As always, if you have a question about any of this, you can always reach me at the phone number and email that follow.
Contact editor John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.