Guest Op/Ed: I Pledge to Run a Positive, Issue-Based Campaign

Matt Bower
We all saw the gross and negative mailing campaigning during the run-up to the primary election. The most contested race, deciding the At-Large, District 7 seat, yielded mailer after mailer painting each candidate as this, that or the other. People are sick and tired of the negativity. What happened to campaigning on the merits? Sadly, attack ad campaigns are commonplace these days, especially with heavily-funded candidates, hiding behind Political Action Committees that are sending out negative ads, attempting to sway voters with misconceptions of a candidate.

I will be campaigning on the merits. I vow to the voters of District 3 in Manatee County that I will not run a smear campaign against my opponent. Moreover, I will strenuously and publicly reject any PAC or group who desires to do so against my opponent. I simply will not allow it.

A polling call out of West Palm Beach asking local voters how they would feel on various matters related to my candidacy was recently brought to my attention. All of the questions were designed to help my opponent or his PAC supporters to determine which type of smear campaign might be most helpful to sway voters. This has become the norm of heavily-funded special interests: Poll and attack, regardless of the truth.

I believe my record in this community speaks for itself. I will remind and illustrate to our voters what I have done in this community and my vision for it as their elected leader. As a community leader and a veteran who has served our country, I find it beneath my moral and ethical compass to even contemplate a smear campaign in order to help me get elected.

If my opponent truly believes he is the right candidate to represent our community, then I call upon him to run on his own merits and demonstrate his record of what he has done for our community. The people of district 3 deserve nothing less than a fair comparison of a truthful record, not some mudslinging barrage of negative ads, phone calls and mailers. Anything less will be a disservice to our community and a true indicator of what type of person we can expect if elected into office.

It is time for the political nonsense and smear campaign ads to cease. While we may not have much control over this from a state or national level, we absolutely have control within our local elections. When a candidate raises money from special interest such as developer Carlos Beruff (as my opponent has), the money comes with strings attached and real expectations. It’s not too late to return money from special interests who invest heavily in a candidate. I refuse to take money from developers like Carlos Beruff, and I believe voters should reject that money as well with a vote against candidates who run a smear campaign heavily funded by those that harm our community.

The campaign to elect Matt Bower as the new District 3 County Commissioner will always be a positive campaign based on me, not my opponent. Leading by example is what leadership is truly about.

Matt Bower, Candidate
District 3, Manatee County Commissioner

Reader Comments
Christopher W Carman
SEP 22, 2020  •  Matt is a great person and individual, but however perhaps a bit naive. It is true and factual that campaigning and making others aware of an opponents strengths and weaknesses (negative campaigning) works and causes people to change how they will vote and for whom.
Judy Stahle
SEP 20, 2020  •  Matt Bower is a real champion for District 3. I watched him in action during the hearings on Long Bar Pointe and he has our best interest in mind, not the desires of the developers. I have no doubt he will work hard for us and will view all issues with an open mind and for the good of the county.
SEP 20, 2020  •  I have been regularly viewing Commissioner meetings for the last several years, where we have had zero representation from our current District 3 commissioner. We did though have regular representation from Matt Bower who showed up at the meetings and represented the citizens.  We appreciate you going and standing up for us when we were working and unable to attend.  Thank you for being our voice.
Al Horrigan
SEP 20, 2020  •  I served with Matt for 4 years on the Manatee County Planning Commission. Matt always thinks about how a decision will effect the community before he votes. He always does his homework and comes to the meeting fully prepared to discuss the issue. We need Matt’s perspective and voice on the BOCC .
Joe Kane
SEP 20, 2020  •  Matt Bower will vote for the people. His opponent is paid for by Beruff who is responsible for the destruction of Long Bar Pointe., and much of Manatee County. Vote for Matt Bower who wants to save historic Cortez. Matt will fight for a smaller Cortez Bridge a sane alternative for our village and Anna Maria Island. Vote for Matt Bower for District 3 Manatee County Commissioner,