Stephenville's capacity for optimism will be tested again this year when we are hit with a double whammy of elections.

First up is the Republican Primary on March 6 featuring five county races and a whopping 19 candidates. Surely you have seen the signs dotting the landscape.

And if you are me you have already been accused of being “unfair.”

(Insert gigantic eye roll.)

Unfortunately this isn’t my first rodeo and after 15 years of covering local politics, I’ve seen and heard it all.

And every year there is someone who bemoans the process.

Luckily, most of the men and women running for office are smart and thoughtful, which makes up for the ones who, well, aren’t.

With the race for city council just around the corner in May I thought now is the time to offer a crash course in Election 101 for any would-be politicos.

Here we go.

1. If you are toying with a run for office, high on your list of things to do after making the final decision is to call the hometown newspaper (that’s us) and schedule a time to come in and get to know the editorial department.

Making yourself available to the press shows you are a serious candidate who wants to connect with voters. Making that happen is your responsibility. Don’t depend on me to know your intentions. I’m not telepathic and I’ve never been able to get my hands on a crystal ball, but I am trying.

2. Be nice.

Don’t stew over perceived wrongdoings, then make threats about how you plan to retaliate. That never gets a relationship off to a good start.

Assume you will be treated fairly and come in to our office with an open mind. We are pretty friendly once you get to know us.

3. If any of this offends you, reconsider your decision. Local politics is not for sissies. Facebook still exists and we all remember what happened last year.

Meanwhile, the rest of you can go ahead and put down your pen. There will be plenty of time to submit your thoughts in the form of a letter to the editor when things get a little closer.

For now, I am going to take a breather until the political frenzy wraps its arthritic fingers around our necks and chokes the joy straight out of us.

The good news is I’m prepared. My antacids are in reach and the chardonnay is chilling.

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at 965-3124. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.