There have been no TV ads in the York's mayoral race. No jabs back and forth. No scandals, no handlers sending out rumors. Because there are no handlers. There are just candidates, shaking hands, being stand-up guys.
When people run for office in small towns, such as York, and even smaller towns, such as Hickory Grove, a dozen miles west of York, all politics are personal.
Which means politics are better. Better than this nonstop nonsense for president of the country with candidates from the opposing party and the incumbent fluttering around the country, saying absolutely nothing.
The mayoral race is so personal in York, with 3,896 registered voters in a population listed in the 2010 census as 7,736, that both guys who want the job go to the same church.
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Incumbent Eddie Lee is an elder at First Presbyterian in York. Dan Warren - "Big Dan Warren" is his nickname and therefore his political name in a small place - attends the same services.
Many places in the small city have signs for each candidate next to each other, including next to the sign that says "York" downtown.
At the Huddle House restaurant Monday in York, the race was summed up by a 73-year-old guy named Glenn Matthew: "I know both of the candidates. I like 'em both. But I can only vote for one."
The race is simple. The 10-year incumbent, Lee, runs on his record, has shaken as many hands as he can, and smiles. On Monday, the day before an election, Lee did his regular job of teaching at Winthrop University, then went out to meet more voters and knock on more doors.
"I was Big Dan Warren's friend before this race, I will be Big Dan Warren's friend after this race," Lee said Monday. "This is an election of friends and neighbors."
The challenger, Warren, a firefighter until he was injured last year, taught fire instruction courses Monday. Then, he went to meet more voters and knock on more doors.
"I have nothing bad to say about Eddie Lee; I just think it is time for a change in leadership," Warren said Monday.
Both men talked about how great it is to run for office and live in a place where you actually can meet, and may know, the people who are going to vote - the people they wish to serve.
It is the same today in town council races in Tega Cay, Clover, Sharon and tiny Hickory Grove.
Hickory Grove, like York, has a spirited and gentlemanly race for mayor.
Hickory Grove has just one voting precinct - an elementary school. The disruption from the municipal election is so small that classes will go on around the voting. Hickory Grove, with a population of 440 in 2010, has 269 registered voters.
"I tried to meet 'em all," said mayoral challenger Glenn Shell, 61, a metal-working millwright who spent Monday doing metal-working millwright stuff. Shell has been in Hickory Grove four years.
"I didn't have any signs. I printed some cards, went door-to-door and told people who I was and that I would do my best for them."
Today, Election Day, Shell said he will not stand outside the polling place. He will work, then see if he won.
The 22-year incumbent, Larry Earl, also will go to work today. He's in maintenance with the York school district and has been for 32 years.
Monday, the day before his big race, he did not campaign. Earl fixed a boiler at one school and had other crises at other schools. His campaign signs consist of one big sign, in his front yard, a sign like you see outside country diners. It lights up at night.
"I have gone door-to-door, and I printed up some fliers of my accomplishments," Earl said of his campaigning. "People know me after all these years."
Like Shell the challenger, Earl will not monitor the one poll.
"People deserve to be treated with dignity; they can go vote without any bother," Earl said.
These four candidates for two mayor slots show just how great politics and politicians can be. Meet people, treat them right, and run on your record, your vision or both.
Contrast that with statewide and national elections, where candidates make promises they never keep, slam each other or have lackeys slam the opponent for them, and just generally cause public despair because the campaigns go on for months and years.
Today in Washington, or Iowa, or New Hampshire, or even in South Carolina, candidates, who all are rich will call everybody else every name in the political book, then try to raise millions to be a big shot. All will bore people stiff at best.
Not a single one could pass the test in the regular-guy world of Hickory Grove and York.
Today in Hickory Grove, two candidates will work with their hands, vote, then go back to work.
Today in York, Eddie Lee and Big Dan Warren will ask people for their votes, and when the votes are tallied, the guys will shake hands and go to church together Sunday.
All four of these candidates said the same thing Monday, in one way or another: Each is a guy trying for a job in politics, to help the neighbors out and make where they live a little bit better.
Voters in York, Clover, Tega Cay, Hickory Grove and Sharon head to the polls today. Fort Mill, McConnells and Smyrna have no elections because all candidates were unopposed.
YORK will elect a mayor and one city councilman.
CLOVER will elect six town council members. The mayor is unopposed.
SHARON will elect four town council members. The mayor is unopposed.
HICKORY GROVE will elect a mayor. All council seats are unopposed.
TEGA CAY will elect two city council members.
All polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a list of polling places, visit www.yorkcountygov.com. Go to county departments, then click on voter registration and elections. For information, call the elections office at 803-684-1242 or 803-909-7194. It is located at 13 S. Congress St., York.
SOURCE: York County Voter Registration and Elections Office