Campaigns for elected office can be tense. Candidates and their supporters work long hours and endure significant scrutiny. It's easy to get tired and frustrated, sometimes even angry and bitter.
We in the media understand all of that, and to be honest, we can often feel a similar kind of stress around this time of year.
It's no surprise, then, to hear a few times each election season from campaigns that are unhappy with something we've published. In many cases, the conversations are productive. We can help the candidates better understand the reasons behind how we do things. The candidates can help us better see how our work might be perceived.
It's rare, but there are times when local campaign complaints can get heated. For the most part, though, we find a way to have civil conversations and, if nothing else, agree to disagree.
What I've just described is typical of every local campaign season I've been a part of covering in my two decades in this business. But I have to admit, as we went into the fall this year, I had some concerns about how things might play out in 2017.
It had nothing to do with any candidates or any issues on the local level. It had everything to do with the national political climate and, in particular, how President Donald Trump has responded to news media coverage. He's called reporters "disgusting," made baseless accusations that journalists are fabricating stories and referred to the press as the "enemy of the American people." I could easily fill this column with Twitter posts he's made attacking news professionals.
It's an approach unlike any other president in American history. So with the leader of our country handling the press in this manner, I wondered if we'd see similar attacks at the local level.
Thankfully, my fears were totally unwarranted. Yes, I had a few discussions this fall with candidates concerned about a story or a letter or an editorial, but no one called us "fake" or "disgusting." In fact, they expressed gratitude for the work we do and the opportunity to bring a concern to our attention.
There was a lot of analysis around the country Tuesday night and into Wednesday about the meaning of these "off-year" elections in terms of what it says about the public's response to the first year of the Trump presidency.
I honestly didn't see anything in our Cayuga County-area elections that could be construed as a sign in either direction for whether this new White House administration is affecting local political policy.
What I did see, though, is that no matter what point along the political spectrum they may be, most local candidates have a healthy appreciation and respect for the work that journalists do. No matter what happens in Washington, I sure hope that can continue.
Kudos to the vote counters
In September, I used this column to express some concerns about the long time it took for us to get results from the Cayuga County Board of Elections after polls closed on primary voting day. Based on that experience, I was rather worried about what the general election would look like.
I'm happy to report that the process for releasing numbers to the public on Tuesday night went smoothly. Information was posted in a timely manner from all corners of the county, and the public went to bed knowing who had won and lost.
To the commissioners at the elections board and all of their workers, thanks for making things run so well this year.