In this space two weeks ago we asked potential candidates for countywide elective offices to step up. The filing deadline for the March primary is Jan. 4, and about a half-dozen or so have asked the county elections board for candidate petitions.
We hear several individuals are expressing interest in the county commissioner's seat now held by Nancy McKeen, who is not running for re-election.
We suspect, however, the best hope for strong leadership will come from the person who decides to take on County Commissioner Tom Ferrell in the March primary and the November 2008 general election.
Voters need to make a decision on a good candidate, not just accepting the incumbent. We challenge Mr. Ferrell to run on his record, and his vision for Erie County and believe a strong challenger is the best way to sort through these qualities.
Erie County is not in good financial shape right now and seems to lack any articulated plan for the future. The reality is our current leaders are the ones who put us here, and we'd like to see how they plan to get us out of it. Maybe some fresh leadership will have a plan.
It can be argued that choosing two county commissioners will be the most important choices Erie County voters make next year. It certainly will set the stage for economic recovery in this troubled area, or it may doom us to another decade of declines.
But while these races are vital, there are other important jobs -- including that of president -- to be decided as well.
The countywide offices open for party nominations in the March primary include coroner, prosecutor, commissioners and sheriff.
We again urge both the Democratic and Republican parties to encourage a full slate of candidates for each of these offices.
Want to run?
Democratic and Republican candidates who want to run for an Erie County office have until Jan. 4 to file, so if they're serious they need to get to work soon.
A candidate for Erie County Commission or any other county elective office must file a petition containing the signatures of a minimum of 50 registered voters and a maximum of 150. Candidates generally are encouraged to collect about 100 signatures.
The petition papers and advice on how to comply with the election laws are available at the Erie County Election Board. The board's office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Service Center, 2900 Columbus Ave.