Are Professional Politicians Fading Out?


So what was it that set the two mayoral candidates apart from the crowd? Jolene Loetscher and Paul TenHaken aren’t your typical candidates.

One thing that sets them apart? Neither one has a professional, political background. 

“I think that that does show one, voters aren’t using that as the most important factor in determining who they’re supporting,” said Emily Wanless, Augustana Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs. 

Emily Wanless with Augustana University believes the move away from career politicians nationally has trickled down into the way voters in KELOLAND cast their ballots.

“If electing people from outside the beltway works for D.C. and makes voters feel more comfortable with what’s going on there. You know, why not try it here at the state or local level,” said Wanless. 

Wanless says something else that may have helped these two standout on the ballot is name recognition.

While yard signs and tv ads aren’t going away, there are more platforms than ever before.

“The Facebook Live, the Twitter presence, Instagram presence. All of that is free media and it’s free media that is increasingly being consumed by voters. So I think it’s here to stay,” said Wanless. 

No matter what trends may come and go, Wanless believes the success of a candidate will always come back to the issues.  

“And I think both of the candidates that were successful last night are people who were able to articulate their passion and their role and their vision for that actual community,” said Wanless. 

Wanless says with large races like this, voter fatigue is an issue. She believes some voters get overwhelmed by large ballots and fall back on who they recognize. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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