This is what you get with partisan roles where they don’t belong.
File this under the category: “One more reason county elected offices should be nonpartisan.”
Lisa Tollefson is the incumbent Rock County Clerk. She’s a Democrat.
She is facing a primary challenge from Yuri Rashkin, also a Democrat.
The winner will coast to victory since there is no Republican challenger.
Adams Publishing Group reported last week on a Facebook post by Lisa Tollefson’s husband, Tim Tollefson, taking Rashkin to task. The post read, “Help keep the little agenda driven socialist Yuri out of the clerk’s office and go in and vote for one Democrat, Lisa Tollefson.”
Rashkin took exception to the post, not surprisingly. And so did Lisa Tollefson, who quite bluntly said, “He (her husband) is still sleeping on the couch. … I am very angry at the man …” She said she told her husband to immediately take down the post, and he did.
Was the post inappropriate? Sure. Name calling is always bad. It was wrong. It was dumb. It was demeaning and cruel.
On the other hand, there’s an old saying—as old as 1895—from author Finley Peter Dunne’s fictional character Mr. Dooley, that “politics ain’t beanbag.” Meaning, of course, that if you choose to play the game you’d better be prepared for sharp elbows.
Considering the national partisan tone these days—for example, opponents calling President Trump a racist while Joe Biden’s opponents claim he has dementia—the Rock County dust-up is relatively tame. Still inappropriate, yes. But scarcely lukewarm on today’s scale of typical partisan heat.
Which brings us back to the point, one we have repeated over and over for years. It is idiotic to continue electing county officials on a partisan basis. These offices have nothing to do with partisan ideology. They are public service positions. In fact, it’s hard to justify holding elections to fill these jobs in the first place. For example, Beloit’s city clerk is not elected. Neither are the police chiefs in Beloit or Janesville. County boards could hire clerks and sheriffs, maybe even district attorneys, based on credentials and competency.
Instead, Wisconsin is stuck in the anachronistic world of partisan elections for public service jobs. That’s stupid, but it would take a constitutional change to get rid of it. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the partisans in Madison to lead in that direction.
So, meanwhile, we urge all candidates to reject the ugly national partisan tone and keep it clean. Be better than the parties you are required to represent.