For county clerk, elect best candidate – not just one with the letter ‘R’

Posted 10 October 2020 at 6:42 pm


Over the past several weeks I have been lucky enough to walk beside (often behind) Diane Shampine as she boldly knocks upon the doors of complete strangers.

Quiet and reserved by nature, Diane has managed to muster the inner strength to enter an arena of which she had previously disavowed, and even truly dreaded – the world of politics. I stand in awe at the strength required to do so.

If you have a fear of public speaking, multiply that by a factor of ten, and then you have half an appreciation for what this actually requires.

I have witnessed first-hand how this overtly polite lady (afraid to knock too loudly, step on someone’s grass where no sidewalk was present, or interrupt a Buffalo Bill’s game on Sunday) became a confident, assertive individual on the campaign trail for the position of Orleans County Clerk.

Each encounter resolved clearly in her favor yet accompanied by a small cloud of confusion as to how a citizen may clearly cast a vote intended as approval for her effort to meet, greet and present.

Her shirt is red, her sign has stars, she’s a life-long Republican, and it would seem logical that if one were to vote straight down the Republican line, she will receive your vote. No! Not correct. Diane has supported the Republican Party her entire life, but even though she was clearly the most qualified, I dare say the only qualified candidate for the position, she didn’t receive their support. The people we meet fully intend to vote for Diane, but many also intend to vote the Republican line from top to bottom. Unfortunately, that is going to end with unintended consequences, and the wrong person may inadvertently win this race.

However, from the very beginning of this campaign Diane understood the value of the Conservative Party endorsement. At the very heart of every true Republican, and deep down within every thinking person is a conservative leaning voter. Someone who honestly believes the hand of government upon the throats of the citizen must be restrained, and the coffers accrued via collected taxes should be spent as a parent balancing a limited household budget.

I witnessed Diane reviewing a multi-page questionnaire from the Conservative Party Committee as if she were taking a midterm exam, beginning at 7 a.m. and finally concluding sometime after 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night because she was determined to submit her honest and heartfelt answers on time. Upon doing so, she not only received the Conservative Party endorsement, but also received high praise as having provided “some of the most impressive answers they had ever seen.” Because of that cherished endorsement, she is now allowed to continue on in the general election as the Conservative Party candidate.

It would seem Diane Shampine is not simply running against another candidate, but rather she finds herself in contention with a very powerful letter. The letter “R” for Republican.

A letter can be a powerful thing, one cannot debate with a letter, only a candidate. When one candidate refuses to present their competency in a public forum, the other is catapulted into a position where they must somehow convey that an “R” is not always an “R”, and quite often a “C” is truly the best option.

James Schwenzer

Ontario, New York and part-time Holley resident