Editor, Times-Union:

One of the many things that I admire about Jim Smith is that he’s a straight shooter. If he disagrees with you, he’ll look you in the eye and tell you to your face. No matter where you stood in the Dukes/Smith primary this May, you have to admit that it took guts and character for Jim to approach the sheriff, tell him that he disagrees with the way things are being handled and launch a campaign for change.

I have not seen the same strength of character from those in the administration who are currently trying to cling to power through their proxy candidate. Instead, I’ve seen pettiness, vindictiveness and a culture of victimhood. They show up at a Republican event and cry about not being able to use it to promote a non-Republican candidate. They suspiciously reassign a well-known Smith supporter in the Department to road duties after an innocent Facebook post.  They pretend that the criminal trouble of Jim Smith's son is an issue, when they know very well that Jim did exactly the right thing by removing himself from the situation and letting the State Police and special prosecutor handle the case.  They continue to focus on relitigating the past, while Jim Smith is focused on the future.

They act like Hillary Clinton, blaming Kyle’s Dukes’ defeat on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” But Kyle Dukes is not a victim. He didn’t lose the primary because Republicans were out to get him. He lost because he gave himself a massive pay raise by refusing to negotiate a salary contract, made his brother-in-law his chief deputy, was too hands-off when it came to managing the jail and the majority of voters didn’t like it. It’s that simple.

Like most of you, I am ready for this election to be over, and one of the biggest reasons is because I am ready for a leader who is focused on fixing big problems instead of settling petty personal grudges. Vote for Republican Jim Smith on November 8.

Donald K. Wiesehan Jr.

Mentone, via email