I recently heard that only 39% of Americans actively read the bible. That really is a pity for several reasons (not the least of which is the fact that America was founded on Judeo-Christian values, and knowing those values makes it much easier to live those values).
Case in point, a full 61% of Americans would be unfamiliar with the verses in Matthew, Chapter 7, 16 – 20:
16 – Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 – Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 – A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 – Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 – Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Sadly, this verse has come to mind in recent actions in our local politics. Now, what I’m about to say may come across as sour grapes (no pun intended) for losing the primary election. Or would that be losing with a capital ‘L’. I digress.
On October 2, 2023, after the primary was completed, and before the ballots were printed for the general election, Greg McArthur announced his withdrawal from the race, citing a lack of time to adequately represent the citizens of St. George.
From his press release: “The moral responsibility of all candidates who are seeking to hold a political office involves a promise made by the candidate to live up to the responsibilities and obligations of that office. I do not take this charge lightly. With St George being one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country, I feel an overwhelming responsibility to ensure that I can put my duties as a St George City Council member as the foremost priority. For the first time, I am having to question my ability to uphold this promise.”
According to St. George News, “This reduces the field of candidates for City Council to five. State code does not allow a new candidate to take McArthur’s place if the vacancy happens within 65 days of the general election. If this were done before that period, the candidate who came in seventh in the primary would be taking McArthur’s spot”
Here’s my issue with all of this. Before the filing for running for City Council, Greg McArthur told Robert MacFarlane of the 435 Podcast that he was not planning on running again. So why did he run? Why did he wait until now to drop out? I have been hearing lots of rumblings as to potential why’s, but without having any concrete evidence one way or the other, I leave it to you to come to your own conclusion.
Given his earlier statements to Robert, and the actual timing of stepping down from this race, I believe Greg’s actions show his integrity, or more specifically his lack thereof. Integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” Greg, you speak of the moral responsibility of candidates. Your actions show a complete lack of understanding what this actually means.
Now, I know a lot of you reading would say, you had me until the last paragraph. Now it’s just sour grapes. True, he’s no longer in the race. True, I came in dead last (well, except for the two that dropped out 2 weeks into the race, and the 2 that were dropped for not submitting their financial disclosures). The real issue isn’t directly with Greg. I don’t believe Greg did this of his own accord. I believe this was done as an orchestrated plot to consolidate power. Assuming that he truly was still on the fence about running in the primary, it’s being reported that Mayor Randall asked him to step out of the post-primary race.
You see, nationally, incumbents generally gather a high percent of the vote (look at “Election Results, 2022: Incumbent win rates by state”). In last year’s general election, nationally, 94% of incumbents won re-election. In 2021, it was 86%. In 2020, it was 93%. By having Greg run in the primary, there was an extremely high probability that much of the votes would be siphoned off that may have voted against the other incumbents. Also, as stated by the St. George News, by waiting to drop out of the race when he did, his position, as one of the final 6 candidates to go onto the general election, would not allow his position to be replaced, which would have been Wendi Bulkley had he stepped down earlier.
This, essentially, is legal election tampering. Knowing that incumbents in the United States in municipal elections gather a high number of the votes, and not intending on running to the end of the election intentionally dilutes the votes to non-incumbent candidates. What effect it would have had on my personal election (which, honestly, would have been minimal) is a moot point. The issue is the larger issue intentionally misdirecting the low info voter to wasting their votes. It is just plain dirty politics.
I deeply implore the citizens of St. George to spend time studying the 5 candidates left in this race. There is a frightening lack of integrity and honesty in our current city administration. That is not a slight to every city employee. There are enough individuals in higher authority that act in ways that are self serving and disrespectful to the citizens at large. And I believe that anyone that is or has been involved in this race so far that has not publicly commented on the actions of Greg McArthur in the negative shows their views on integrity as well. Please spend the time to elect leaders that will serve the citizens. Please find the leaders who actually lead, with honesty, with integrity, with morality.