By Ed Martin
Enough already with the special elections

My home has become a way station of sorts for those interested in getting me to vote for Hanford cherry farmer Andy Vidak or Bakersfield County Supervisor Leticia Perez for the State Senate.

For those neophytes who think Tuesday is just a day of the week, this upcoming Tuesday is much more. It is an election to determine the fate of California.

Well, maybe not quite so dramatic an event, but it is an important election, and unfortunately one in which not many will vote, because this is a special election, and we all know who comes out to vote for special elections – only the diehard and those who remembered to program the election into their smart phone’s calendar.

I’ve had so many election visitors and phone calls that I’m tempted to sit on my front doorstep and hand out treats, as if it were an early Halloween. Just today I received a phone call from Planned Parenthood reminding me about Tuesday’s election and if they could count on my vote going to Perez. I’m always polite and repeat my mantra that I certainly do plan to vote.

Nearly every day for the past week someone has knocked on my door to remind me that the election is just around the corner, and wouldn’t it be something if I voted for his or her candidate.

For the past two weeks I’ve been checking my caller ID every time my phone rings and have learned to recognize political calls, which for the most part I ignore, because they are so numerous. As I was writing this column I received another call from Planned Parenthood, this time asking for money for the fight to help preserve women’s rights.

I certainly support women’s rights, but I should have checked the caller ID.

I exaggerate a little. Sometimes I do answer the phone and I often listen to what they have to say, as I do with those who knock on my door. There was a time when I was one of those door knockers and for the most part I was treated well when I asked for a vote or consideration.

In a way I’m often impressed by volunteers who work for candidates or a cause and take time out of their week to knock on doors and encourage you to take the time to vote.

It’s unfortunate that voter turnout won’t reflect the massive effort that went into getting the word out about these two candidates, Vidak and Perez. Historically, special elections don’t attract large turnouts of voters.

This special election is happening because our former state senator, Michael Rubio, resigned earlier this year to take a job with Chevron. Apparently he’s the Valley’s version of Sarah Palin. And he can also see Russia from his home in Shafter.

It appeared that Republican Andy Vidak, who a couple of years ago, nearly upset Congressman Jim Costa, had it locked up in June’s special election when he posted impressive numbers. But when all the votes were counted, he failed by a little over a hundred votes to win the election outright and was forced into a runoff with Perez.

It appears that Tuesday’s election may be close. Millions have been spent promoting the two candidates in a district that is dominated by registered Democrats. Despite the overwhelming Democratic registration, Vidak has performed admirably, but Perez may have the advantage is this special election where they are the only candidates.

I know it may be difficult, on a hot summer day, to take the time to vote, but you should because that’s what being a citizen is about.