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

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


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