Beware the political opposition researchers

Published 8:49 am Saturday, November 18, 2017

By Bobby Tingle


The Russians allegedly have been hacking away to sway votes and alter elections. In case you missed it, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his associates, have been the subject of an investigation at the highest levels to determine their role in a recent national election. Primarily, the question though is who among the candidates colluded with them in this wicked endeavor.

Part and parcel to the whole process is opposition research.

This is the scurrilous data and information gathered to tarnish the image of one’s election opponent.

I doubt the Russians or their cohorts will be dumping any data to sway Orange County voters. But, they will have an opportunity since Orange County has two important elections on the horizon. So be cautious.

The first opportunity is December when voters across the county will vote up or down to establish a hospital district. Probably the greatest threat to the outcome of this election will be voter apathy. Will voters show up? Let’s hope so, this is an important issue facing the county. All who live, work and conduct business in Orange County have a stake in the outcome.

The next election is in March 2018. It is a Primary Election when each political party, Democrat and Republican, compete among themselves. The winners will be on the ballot in November 2018 when either incumbents or newcomers assume responsibility for a county office.

There are ten spots up for grabs. They are County Judge, County Commissioner for precincts 2 and 4, County Clerk and Treasurer, Justice of the Peace for Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 4 and 260th Court Judge.

Ideally, when the election is over in March, there will be twenty candidates to be placed on the November ballot.

Currently, we are in the filing period when candidates must officially throw their name in the hat by filing with election officials. The filing deadline is December 11, 2017 at 6 p.m. So far, the Republicans have at least one candidate for each office qualified to appear on the ballot. Two spots, so far, will be contested among the Republicans, County Judge and County Commissioner for Precinct 2.

On the Democrat side, no one has filed yet. In fact, County Treasurer Incumbent Christy Khoury switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party for this election. Rumor has it the Democrats will be filing next week.

Let’s hope so. If they don’t the primary election will result in uncontested races in November.

Don’t let the threat of political opposition research by local and foreign operatives deter you from filing. Contested races spur healthy and productive debate and better choices on Election Day.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at