Political debates tend to be very important, but typically dull. You secretly hope for some insults and fisticuffs, sort of like awaiting a NASCAR crash to relieve the tedium of turn left, turn left, turn left.
The recent O’Fallon city candidates forum yielded a few surprises.
At the start of the night there was a four-way race for Ward 7 alderman. By the end it was a two-way race.
Jon Burgmann went through the forum, answering residents’ questions, and was the night’s last speaker. He said he’d decided to quit and endorse Dan Witt.
“To me, it makes sense for me to bow out rather than be a conflict in this thing at this point, and work with him rather than against him in the election, and I would encourage anyone who truly wants to see change in our local government to vote for Dan in the upcoming election,” Burgmann said.
Tom Mitchell, the other remaining candidate in Ward 7, said residents might have witnessed a little political theater rather than an epiphany from Burgmann. Others in the crowd thought the same thing and after the forum ended Burgmann took some abuse for making an endorsement.
Burgmann said he was running because at one point it appeared no one was. He said he quit because he came to the conclusion that others who shared his ideals were better equipped to serve the public.
Mitchell said the campaign won’t change much, because he and Witt were the only ones actively campaigning.
Say what you want about political campaigns, but the work a person puts into public service before an election as well as the energy they bring to a campaign is a good indicator of how hard they will work if they are elected. Then, like Burgmann, you just need to evaluate whether they represent your ideals.