Thursday, October 22, 2020

Sheriff race is getting uglier

| October 11, 2020 1:00 AM

It’s the crazy season, in case you didn’t notice, when flies take up residence in VPs’ perfect hair and conspiracy theories pop up like porch pumpkins.

With a lot of craziness, though, comes this serious warning: Don’t believe everything you hear, read or see. That’s always true during elections but particularly so in these unprecedented times of pandemic, fear and anger. Crazy has gone to crazier, and might be shooting for craziest.

Case in point: The mysterious and malicious mailer targeting Kootenai County sheriff candidate Bob Norris. Produced with the proverbial poison pen, the anonymously authored mailer accuses Norris of crimes that would preclude his running for sheriff because he’d be in jail for the next century or two. The source of the mailer is under investigation, and there are more questions than answers about it at this point — including how many people have even received it. But the takeaway is that anybody getting this kind of trash, about any candidate, not just Norris, should relegate it to a hot flame or a cold garbage can.

Maybe we should have expected this level of malice, which also had someone operating a fake Norris campaign website until recently, in a race that has stretched out over years, not months. The smell test suggests there’s a host of agendas in play here, with the desire for justice being served just one of them — and that with a bit of an eyebrow lift. These guys hate each other, and that includes some bodies left in the wake of Norris’s easy May Republican primary victory.

When one sheriff candidate spouts off in a town hall accusations of corruption and worse — toward any other candidate — the accuser should immediately provide incontrovertible evidence. Keep the social media fear-mongering and rumor-spreading shenanigans off center stage where discerning voters expect real information. Not only are accusations flying fast, furious and cheap; they’re also disgusting.

Typically, we’d issue our election warning about blatant fabrications and below-the-belt allegations headed voters’ way just before Election Day, but with tens of thousands of absentee ballots already distributed and many no doubt returned, the assaults could be coming early.

You’ve been warned. Let’s all insist on hard facts, first and foremost.