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It’s Moore vs Pettit in upcoming mayoral race

With today’s primary, the municipal candidates’ field is set, with longtime Democrat Party man Dick Moore vs local businessman and city councilman Jim Pettit heading the Republican ticket. The Elkhart Truth online (etruth.com) has a nice video piece on both candidates here (opens video player window — video plays in Windows Media Player or RealPlayer).

Our impression is that this is an evenly matched race between two capable candidates. Jim Pettit has been on the Elkhart City Council for four years, and is a local businessman with a businessman’s outlook on city problems. While some think he’s been a bit too cold-hearted and businesslike (about the Elco, for example), it’s our impression the rumors are wrong. In fact, Pettit came out positively for the new Elco plan (once there was a plan that appeared to make sense.) We think he has the energy to do a good job for the city and carry on many of the positive things outgoing Mayor Dave Miller has accomplished. He won’t be afraid to make changes where needed, either.

Dick Moore has been a local Democrat fixture for many years, and has long experience in getting things done on a day-to-day basis. This experience could serve Elkhart well, particularly in such badly neglected areas as street repair. Moore has also indicated an orientation toward fiscal responsibility and making adjustments in the city’s administrative makeup.

On Sunday, The Elkhart Truth endorsed Democrat Arvis Dawson for that party’s nomination (they favored Pettit on the GOP side), citing Dawson’s “energy”. Our impression was that this was Stephanie Gattman’s codeword for “younger.” Nothing against Dawson, but we feel this was quite unfair to a guy like Moore who still has a lot to offer the city. Remember Stephanie, 60 is the new 40. At least primary voters showed more sense.

For once, it’s nice to see a mayoral contest that presents two capable, if differently skilled, candidates. Elections in the recent past have been rather lopsided, with one side or the other (or both) having extremely weak candidates, presenting voters with a “lesser of two evils” choice. This time around, the motto can truly be “may the best man win.”

The only downside to tonight’s primary election was turnout. Turnout for municipal primaries is typically low, but this was ridiculous. Let’s hope the turnout this fall for the “real deal” is better.

It’s going to be an interesting race, so stay tuned.

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