When it comes to optics, no election compares to a presidential election. For months – even years – we field phone calls and recycle eye-catching mailers. We watch well-staged debates aired in prime time, and we follow the rise and fall of politicians so famous they seem like celebrities.

In contrast, local elections are pretty low-key. There are few, if any, mailers, no phone calls, and any “debates” – they’re too cordial to really be called a debate – don’t produce sound bites that we’ll be talking about with coworkers or watching reenacted on Saturday Night Live. At best, there are yard signs and letters to the editor in the newspaper, but no one’s asking for an autograph and a selfie when they see a city council candidate at the local coffee shop.

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