I don't give jack about endorsement

John "Jack" Turner - 08/13/2020

To the editor,
Thanks for the first political cartoon about the race for La Plata County commissioner featuring my fellow candidate Marsha Porter Norton, Jack D. Turner (who recently resigned from the Board of La Plata Electric Association), and me, Jack (John R) Turner. I have been trying for years to explain that I’m not the Jack Turner elected to the LPEA board. Despite multiple requests to meet with LPEA Jack and straighten out our biographies, he has ignored or refused all invitations to do so. Shan Wells has also not spoken with me for some reason, nor has the Telegraph.

Shan Wells’ cartoon illustrates one reason why I decided to run for county commissioner as an independent candidate without obligation or favor to any political party or special interest group. The Endorsement Game as practiced in modern politics is a predictable method of “prominent influencers” aligning with party candidates to sway voters. 

When I entered the race Oct. 18, 2019, Marsha Porter Norton already listed 75 endorsements on her website. It included all three sitting county commissioners who endorsed Ms. Porter Norton on the day she announced (nearly two years before the 2020 election). Democrat party officials and family are to be expected, of course, but the endorsements include LPEA Jack Turner, former city / county officials, and the directors of nonprofits and government agencies that have business and financial relationships with Board of County Commissioners.

Such endorsements are legal and standard political practice, but all came before any other person had entered the race. I believe several are an outright conflict of interest. Sadly, it’s plain on its face that the endorsement by all three current commissioners are an attempt to hand-pick their successor. They selected Marsha Porter Norton before another Democrat could realistically enter the race. She was the only choice offered at party caucuses and the only choice in the Democratic primary because candidate selection was predetermined. This predetermination runs at cross purposes to what we uphold as the underpinnings of free and fair elections.

None of the persons endorsing Marsha Porter Norton had any conversations with me about my qualifications, perspective or platform. While anyone can check out my website, I hoped that the Durango Telegraph’s journalistic standards would include objective research and an interview of all candidates. I’m available any time to discuss my candidacy and the election.

I too have had offers of endorsement, but I’ll not publish any. My campaign will not promote the idea that my supporters are somehow better than Marsha or her endorsers. That’s how the political parties conduct business. Instead, I ask voters to check out all candidates and not be reliant upon typical party driven endorsements.

On a highly positive note, I’m sure that Marsha Porter Norton would agree that Shan Wells’ caricatures of us are quite flattering, especially the smiles. His drawing took a few pounds and years off my image, and I’m grateful for that.

– Jack Turner, Independent Candidate for La Plata County Commissioner (Dist. 2)

Editor’s note: Just to be clear, the opinions of Shan Wells are his and his alone. Although often they align with the editor and other Telegraph staffers, sometimes they do not. In fact, a lot of times, we do not even agree amongst ourselves (for example: greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all-time; the correct way to install toilet paper; favorite “Caddy Shack” line; which City Market is better). While I am impressed that Shan already has his mental ballot filled out, for me, voting is more of a personal, game-day decision – like socks and underwerar.

As for our questionable “journalistic standards,” not to worry. We will be putting out our highly anticipated and extremely standard candidate Q&A closer to the election. We hope folks will read it and vote what makes sense for them and not base it on the opinions of someone who thinks Journey is the greatest band ever. The important thing here is to just get out and vote (or in this case, go to you mailbox). Ballots will be mailed to La Plata County residents Oct. 9 and are due back no later than 7 p.m. Tues., Nov. 3.

And in the meantime, start thinking about your favorite “Caddy Shack” line; you never know when that will turn up on a candidate questionnaire.