In a letter to the editor titled “Has The Experience” in the Sun Journal, a woman by the name of Jan O’Brien takes some heavy shots at Republican candidate Tim Lajoie, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Peggy Rotundo in Maine House District #74. While not naming Lajoie once, it is quite clear who this author is taking shots at and directing mean-spirited remarks at. This highlights a common problem in politics, which sees an excess of venom and a lack of respect.
While Representative Rotundo cannot be held accountable for her supporters, no matter how disrespectful they are, it is important to note Lajoie’s approach. Since March 14, Lajoie has maintained a campaign Facebook page, “Tim Lajoie For Maine House District #74.” He is an active poster, regularly commenting on the issues of our day, his personal perspectives, and campaign needs as we near election day. Not once though, in seven months of having an official campaign page, has Lajoie mentioned his opponent. “Peggy Rotundo” only appears twice on the entire page, and that is in article summaries provided by the respective websites.
Lajoie isn’t relying on the fact he’s a Republican, a conservative alternative to his opponent, or an alternative period for those who are not satisfied with Representative Rotundo’s service in Augusta. He’s relying on himself, with clear focus on who he has been in his years on Earth and the principles he’s developed during that time. The decision he leaves to voters he meets in his door-to-door travels and people he meets elsewhere, is one based on what he presents in himself, not against others.
No matter the party affiliation or political leaning, candidates would be wise to take note of this example. Lajoie is running in a district long held by an entrenched Democrat and as a Republican, he naturally would be at a strong disadvantage. He isn’t however, and stands a strong chance to secure victory when the voters of District #74 head to the ballot box. A month of now, we could be seeing a Representative-Elect Tim Lajoie, who won on a policy of positive campaigning and running on himself, not against others.
It’s no secret that everyday Mainers agree on more than people are willing to admit. Many wish to be happy and prosperous, have a good family and a successful career. Despite differing on party affiliation, they just wish to carry on a life without interference. Government should assist people, but do so responsibly. Let people carry on their respective pursuits in life and have a temporary safety net just in case of unexpected consequences.
For far too long though, politics has been about your party versus the other party, and that’s the extent of it. Simple rhetoric and shallow policy overshadow legitimate philosophy, with the producer of the best soundbites being the winner of the horse race come time for the ballot box.
Lajoie has a different approach however. When he makes statements on his official campaign page, talks with hard-working voters at the doors of the homes, and discusses his campaign in general, it is never about Representative Rotundo or beating her. It is about what he stands for and winning on his principles. Unlike the author of the pro-Representative Rotundo Sun Journal letter to the editor, Lajoie does not resort to degrading his opponent with rude and offensive comments. He sticks to the facts about himself and the principles he lives by. Now going into the final stretch, he stands a strong chance at victory. If he does secure that victory next month at the ballot box, it should send a clear message to all candidates in Maine about the power of positive campaigning, which they would be wise to adopt his campaign standard in their own future political endeavors.