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Elections matter.

If you are a frequent reader of The Iowa Standard, you know that.

But the reality is, primary elections really matter. Like, really, really, really matter.

For a significant portion of the population, general election candidates will receive their vote simply because they’re either a Republican or a Democrat.

A Democrat will always be worse than a Republican to most Republican voters. And a Republican will always be worse than a Democrat to most Democrat voters.

But let me throw this out there…

What if it’s the “wrong” kind of Republican that advances to the general election? Call them what you want — a “moderate,” a “pragmatist,” a “RINO” — whatever. The reality is primary elections matter.

If the “wrong” Republican wins a seat, it could be six, eight, 10 or more years before another Republican gets a crack at it.

Truth be told, there are a lot of Republicans who win elections who don’t believe in some pretty basic Republican ideas (life at conception, for example). Heck, there are a handful of Republicans in the Iowa House who voted against the Heartbeat bill, and none of them have primary challenges in 2020. So, in essence, those folks are “in” until they retire or a Democrat unseats them.

And often, by the time they retire, they have a “replacement” in mind. And those preferred replacements aren’t typically that much more conservative than the person they are replacing.

So, how do Republicans and Democrats avoid the “wrong” people winning general elections? By defeating them in the primary.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many primaries for Iowa House and Iowa Senate seats.

The Iowa Standard will be offering candidate surveys to all involved in primaries. We believe it is important that voters are able to make educated decisions.

And, no, an “educated decision” is not being able to say, “Well, I’ve known so-and-so for so long and he’s a pretty nice guy.”

Nice doesn’t mean anything. Policy isn’t about manners and feelings. Policy is about positions.

It is imperative that voters receive clear answers from those seeking to represent them on the issues that matter most.

Remember, the representative or senator isn’t doing a favor for Iowa — they’re asking their constituents to hire them. It’s a job interview. Questions need to be answered during a job interview.

So, in the coming days and weeks, we’ll feature candidate surveys from those who willingly participate.

While we prefer to do interviews over the phone without sending the questions in advance, we have agreed with candidates that they can answer the questions over the phone or through email and they can have the questions in advance.

We’d rather have participation than voters left in the dark.

These aren’t difficult questions for people to answer, especially if they belong in office. If these questions can’t be answered, then to be honest, the candidate shouldn’t be in office.

And it’s better to find that out now, before they’re in office, than realizing it once they carry the power of the incumbency.