If letters to the editor are any indication, the race for Pierce County Council District 7 is just about the hottest one on the Aug. 17 primary ballot. (That district includes Gig Harbor, the Key Peninsula, University Place and a slice of West Tacoma.)
Political Buzz has a good roundup on the battle over endorsements. It mentions one letter to the editor, by former Peninsula school superintendent Jim Coolican endorsing Betty Ringlee. And we’ve run others supporting Chuck West, Todd Iverson and Stan Flemming.
One letter, by Suzanne Ellingson, praises Bill Sehmel and claims that he’s been endorsed by outgoing Pierce County Councilman Terry Lee. Lee is now saying that his letter in support of his longtime friend actually falls something short of what most people think of as an endorsement.
Several people have complained about the Ellingson letter, informing us that she’s Sehmel’s girlfriend. One critic – the spouse of another candidate – asked, if we don’t allow candidates, their spouses and immediate family to write letters during the campaign, shouldn’t that have applied to Ellingson as well?
Yes, and we wouldn’t have run the letter had we known of the relationship. We’re not omniscient here, folks. I don’t know how we can be expected to be aware of every candidate’s personal life. Some spouses don’t have the same last name; we’d probably not be aware of that either.
We would hope that letter writers would disclose their connections to candidates. And that candidates could get someone other than a spouse or significant other to write a supportive letter to the newspaper.