Primary season can often be a snoozefest:?Republicans trying to see who can most embody Rush Limbaugh’s ideology, and Democrats arguing over who’ll establish the most social programs. It’s like brothers fighting to see who gets to challenge the bully next door, the JV game before the varsity takes the court.

But thanks to the Jefferson County Commission, and its nonpartisan status, this spring’s Primary season has a pulse. Final outcomes, the actual jobs, may be determined.

Two of the three commission spots are up for grabs this year, and the two spots have drawn five candidates. Congratulations and thanks to each for taking the step, putting your names and souls out for public review ... for giving the newspaper some interesting politics to cover.

For the position currently held by John Hatfield (who is not running again) we have sitting Madras City Council member Tom Brown and the chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, Mae Huston. Just prior to the filing deadline, former Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Throop entered.

For the second commission seat, incumbent Mike Ahern is running for what would be his fourth four-year term as a commissioner. A longtime county road department employee, Floyd Paye, is challenging for the spot.

In the nonpartisan format, the Primary vote may decide the positions. If one of the candidates in either race gets above 50 percent of the vote, the job is theirs. If not, the top two for the position face off in the general election come fall.

Where there are just two candidates, it’s obviously much easier to gain that 50 percent. In the three-candidate race, that 50 percent mark will be a much higher bar to reach. The battle may instead be to keep any of your two opponents from getting 50 percent, finish in the top two, and survive to fight again in the general election in the fall.

The Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a candidates’ fair for Monday, April 28, at the Senior Center. These candidates, and the process they represent, deserve your attendance.

Historically, before people became addicted to their smart phones and quality TV programming like Dancing With the Stars (actually, long before those two societal phenomenons), such forums were a key point in the election seasons. More recently, such forums became more often attended only by the candidates, their spouses, one or two of a candidate’s strongest supporters, and, well, that’s about it. Few people who didn’t already know how they were going to vote would attend. That’s unfortunate.

It’s time to tune it and take note. Learn what you can about the five commission candidates and how they would approach the job. The best way to hear from them all is at the forum.

Monday, April 28. Mark it down.

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