Why vote of the incumbent? In the present primary election we have that choice. I would like to speak in favor of voting for the incumbent for the following reasons:
1) In the incumbent we have a known entity. If that incumbent is doing a proper and satisfactory job, that is certainly a factor in favor of retaining the incumbent. In a challenger we have only the challenger’s word, and evidence of past experience which may or may not relate to the position at hand, to judge how well the challenger will or can improve performance in the position. Sometimes we vote for a challenger because we think he/she ‘might’ do a better job. I submit that that is a pretty weak reason to vote for the challenger. Again, I advocate keeping a known good entity in place, rather than taking a chance on a lesser known entity.
2) If a challenger wins, he/she needs time to ‘come up to speed.’ Of course this time depends on the applicability of the challenger’s previous experience and education—it may be months, it may be years. I served on our planning commission for two years. Only at the end of that time did I feel even slightly comfortable or qualified for the job. Again, the incumbent does not need this time, he/she is already there (again, assuming proper and satisfactory performance).
3) Challengers often cite successful performance in other areas, such as business, as qualification for political positions. This may give insight into the challenger’s temperament, mind-set, attitude, etc., but it does not guarantee better performance in the sought-for position. Again, I am more comfortable with a known, satisfactory incumbent, than taking a chance on the unknown.
4) Lastly, and this may mean a lot to some voters and not much to others, the incumbent may have a career in his/her position. He/she may have been in the position for some or many years. He/she may be the primary provider in his/her personal situation. To put such a person ‘out on the street’ may be a cruel thing to do. When we vote, are we voting for the sake of the candidate(s), for the good of the community, or gambling that we will get something better?
Sincerely, John A. Triplett, Mountain Green