The Explorer has received several calls this election season about the signs, all the great big signs at every corner, with every candidate’s name or photo everywhere you turn.

There’s not a lot we can do about that, these signs are allowed by law and candidates are obnoxiously taking advantage of that. 

However, it’s not the signs that are really bothering me this election season as much as what’s on a few of them.

I cannot understand why it is beneficial for all of these candidates to join forces as they are doing.

All the Republican candidates are running together, all the Democrats are running together. They are running together with photos plastered on all of these signs even when they aren’t even running in the same race.

This party-line campaigning is ridiculous.

Here’s a perfect example – Look at the Legislative District 11 races for the Senate and the House. Sen. Steve Smith and Adam Kwasman are running for the House, and Sen. Al Melvin is looking to get another term on the state Senate. Yet, in advertising and big signs along the roads we see all three of their faces.

Look at the three Republican candidates running for the Arizona Corporation Commission. Admittedly, this is always a race we hear less about, and sometimes hit the voting booth and cringe at the lack of knowledge of each of the candidates listed.

This year, name recognition alone could likely help Republican candidates Bob Stump, Robert Burns and Susan Bitter Smith. These are probably the biggest campaign signs I have ever seen for candidates running for Corporation Commission. You would think they were running for some of the bigger state races.

I am a strong believer in candidates needing to run on their own merits because once you are elected, it’s your individual votes that matter. If your vote is going to fall in step with the cohorts of your own party every single time, then I’d be hesitant to reelect you.

That’s not saying these candidates are bad, it’s saying they are all trying to combine funding and efforts, which then makes it only about electing the party.

I miss the days where candidates stood as individuals. Sure, they have to be registered with a party, but it was about record, morals and beliefs.

If you are a Republican who doesn’t like all the Republican candidates, then don’t vote for all of them just because all of their faces appear together on a campaign sign.

If you are a Democrat, it’s not a bad thing to vote for the Republican candidate who you think might do a better job.

I am increasingly frustrated at this idea that you can only vote for the candidates in which your party line falls. I was recently talking to a friend who actually believed that even though she didn’t like both the Republican candidates running for the House, she would vote for them anyway because she is a Republican.

When did we become so party-line committed? 

I was raised Republican, when I first registered to vote it was as a Republican. However, years later for career purposes, I switched to Independent. While it was for work, this ended up being one of the best changes I have made.

I am not committed to either party. I know many of our readers think I’m too far left, others think I am too far right. The bottom line is I don’t lean one way or the other. When I pick up that ballot on election day, every candidate I cast a vote for is because I believe they are the best one for the job. I do not care in the end whether there is an R or a D in front of the name. What I care about is who is going to be placed in that office, and who I feel confident will represent me, and not some party-line ideology.

However, with so many candidates forming alliances and running together, it’s getting harder and harder for voters like myself to distinguish who is the best on an individual level, especially considering I don’t care about party affiliation in the end.

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