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OPINION: Candidates: When seeking votes, ask for votes

by Bennett Horne | April 27, 2022 at 5:25 a.m.

And now there are three.

The race to determine who will be the next mayor of Bella Vista, the vote of which to be held on Nov. 8, has gained another entry. On the front page of this edition of The Weekly Vista you can read Randy Murray's announcement of his candidacy for mayor. Murray, a longtime businessman, joins John Flynn and Stephen Bourke, two current members of the City Council, in asking the citizens to elect them as the next -- and only third ever -- mayor of Bella Vista.

I hope they will ask. They surely don't need my advice (even though I won the only election I was ever in, that of Harrison High School student body vice-president for the 1979-80 school year), but if I was to offer any it would be this: when seeking votes, ask for votes.

It's kind of important.

In 1994 I stepped into the position of sports editor of the Harrison Daily Times. That's when I learned this important piece of advice, that politicians should never forget to ask for your vote.

The newspaper had two front doors, each opening to the square on which sat the courthouse. One front door opened directly into the newspaper's business office, the front counter where customers could buy ads, subscriptions, etc. The other door opened directly into our newsroom.

Needless to say, we received a lot of social visits through our front door. Some people entered that door by mistake, looking for the front counter, while others came in on purpose, needing to drop off a press release or letter to the editor.

Some came in just to chew the fat or, in the case of Shorty Ozier, to introduce us to his horse.

Shorty Ozier was one of the high-ranking officials in the local rodeo roundup club and, as such, served as one of the leaders -- literally and figuratively -- in the annual rodeo parade that circled (or should it be squared?) the town square.

The year he paraded his horse onto the sidewalk before poking its head through our front door just to say "hello" was one of the best parade's ever.

One of the best political moments, though, was when a candidate running for Boone County sheriff walked into the newsroom to announce his candidacy.

The man was well-liked and very qualified to be the sheriff. He was the favorite to win the race, which he did, serving for many years in that position.

He learned a lesson in politics that day from the longtime publisher of the newspaper, who wandered into the newswroom upon hearing the man's voice as he spoke with staff members.

The candidate, now with the publisher within handshake's distance in front of him, said to our boss,"I hope you'll vote for me."

The publisher replied,"Yes sir. All you have to do is ask."

The light bulb flickered, but never fully illuminated.

"Great," the younger man replied.

"All you have to do is ASK," the publisher repeated, bearing down on the last word.

Finally, full illumination.

"I would appreciate it if you would vote for me," the candidate said.

"You have my vote," the publisher replied before turning to walk back to his office, not saying another word. Point made.

It wasn't necessarily a question we'd pin a question mark to the end of, but it was a request for a voter's vote. It was an ask.

It was one of the many things that publisher said -- not to mention the way he said it -- that has stuck with me all these many years since.

Another was heard every year when the calendar turned to July. He always ushered the month of July in by telling anyone and everyone how he needed to go up to the state line on the third to get a fifth for the fourth.

But that's fodder for another column.

As for this column? I'd suggest if you're running for office and seeking votes, be sure to ask for votes.

• • •

Bennett Horne is the managing editor of The Weekly Vista. He can be reached via email at [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Print Headline: Candidates: When seeking votes, ask for votes

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