Davidson's past election season went "mainstream" with many diversions from the so called "Davidson Way" resulting in a contest that was both competitive and healthy for the town.
Two new faces, Beth Cashion and Stacey Anderson, will grace the dais this coming term. New ideas and approaches to governing will be discussed. There will be more balance on the Board of Commissioners. All of these things should be good for the town if handled correctly. All of these things should help more Davidsonians feel more connected to the town.
How did we get here? How did these "un-Davidson" campaign tactics impact how we elected our new crop of officials?
The first thing that appeared which is not something done normally here in town was the use of campaign signs. Several candidates used them this cycle, myself included. There were not too many of them. They were not placed in public right of way along the roads. They were not negative signs, or large signs, or ugly signs.
In fact, every campaign sign was placed in a yard by a candidate because the homeowner either asked for them specifically or accepted if a candidate asked. I could have used twice as many as I purchased because that many people asked about having one in their yard. The other candidates who used signs mentioned similar stories.
There were also more creative signs. I had a couple of large magnets on my truck which came in handy when I was walking neighborhoods. Multiple people mentioned seeing them either around town or parked at the neighborhood entrance when I was going door-to-door. Commissioner Wessner also very creatively turned her bicycle into a rolling billboard by attaching a campaign sign and then regularly parking her bike along Main Street.
Contrary to popular belief, signs apparently are not the public nuisance many believe them to be.
However, I still heard reports this season of people thinking they were somehow "divisive". One candidate was even told that they had lost a "lot" of votes because of the use of campaign signs!?!? (That candidate won by the way.)
Compare all that to the "Vote Yes" signs supporting the education bonds on the ballot. Those were larger, more visible, and placed all over town (often in public right of way against town ordinance). At the candidate forum at Town Hall, I actually helped Bill Russell of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce unload a trunk-full of them to give to Mayor Woods for distribution.
What does that tell you?
It tells you that campaign signs are "OK" as long as they are the right signs - meaning signs supported by town hall. Signs for non-approved/non-incumbent candidates? Not so much.
Then there were the endorsements...
...but that's for another post.