The clichÐ¹ for showing up for an important event is â€œBe there or be square.â€
Thatâ€™s what you might say about the Nov. 2 election. Your friends and neighbors and relatives will all be at the polls casting ballots in an election fueled by a very close and heated presidential race. Here in Lincolnton weâ€™ve already had higher than expected early voting at the polls.
Thatâ€™s good news because we have some important state and local elections on the ballot. This year voters have the unusual opportunity to fill vacant seats in the U.S. Senate and House due to the departures of Sen. John Edwards and U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger.
Youâ€™ve probably already seen the TV ads on the U.S. Senate race featuring Democrat Erskine Bowles of Charlotte and U.S. Rep. Richard Burr. Both are excellent candidates and the polls show this race is too close to call.
The 10th District Congressional race features state Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville who, if elected, will be the youngest member of Congress at age 29. His opponent is Democrat Ann Fischer of Morganton, a long-time social worker.
Both of these races are important because the winner, if he or she manages to do a credible job in the first term, stands a good chance of keeping the seat for a long, long time.
And donâ€™t forget the top office in the state of North Carolina is up for grabs. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Mike Easley faces a challenge from former Sen. Patrick Ballantine of Wilmington.
Lincoln County is now represented in the state Senate by Republican Jim Forrester, a physician from Stanley. He faces a challenge from newcomer Rita W. McElwaine, a retired nursery home owner from Mount Holly.
Rep. Joe Kiser, a Republican who has represented Lincoln County in the House for five terms, faces newcomer Democrat Ken Fortenberry, who publishes a weekly newspaper in Denver.
Five candidates are seeking election to the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and seven candidates want seats on the school board. We have submitted questions to each of these candidates. Their responses appear in this weekâ€™s editions.
This is an excellent time for large numbers of voters in Lincoln County to go to the polls and make choices. Be there or be square.