David Duguay just doesn’t want to party anymore.

Not that Duguay needs to tone down his wild side, though. He’s a supermarket manager and an Oxford County commissioner. He was a Republican until just last week, when he stood before a GOP gathering and revealed he’s decided to leave the party.

“Commissionersmust be free to move within a nonpartisan atmosphere if they intend to universally provide good county government,” he said. “To seek re-election as a partisan candidate, after realizing and concluding that good county government is not served by such a candidacy, would be a disservice to the people I represent.”

Last year, Duguay pushed legislation to make commissioners nonpartisan, and remove the political veneer from his position. It went nowhere, just like countless bills submitted over the years to reform how county government works.

So now, he’s putting his politics where his politics are. By unenrolling from the party, he’s asking Oxford County voters not to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate. He’s asking them to vote for plain old David Duguay.

Skeptics are quick to note Oxford County’s deep blue hue, and the emergence of a strong Democratic candidate – Rep. John Patrick, who is termed out this year – for his seat on the Oxford County Commission, as the real reasons for his turnaround.

We’d think the same, if Duguay hadn’t felt this way one year ago, when his legislation was debated. Although it may look politically savvy to make this move now, to do so would contradict the reason he’s making it: Duguay wants to be less political, not more.

And by leaving the Republican Party, Duguay has only invited his former colleagues to put another candidate into the race. This only lessens his chance for re-election, and there’s nothing savvy about that at all.

But it makes Duguay feel like he’s doing the right thing. “I feel like there’s a weight lifted,” he says. Yet voters must address his long-standing support of GOP causes and candidates in weighing their choice for commission.

Duguay already has. “I’ve never voted a straight ticket,” he says.

Duguay presents an interesting conundrum for voters. Democrats don’t believe him; he’s a Republican in independent’s clothing. Republicans say he’s a nice guy and all, but if he’s not with us, then he’s against us. It’s all about getting the party candidate elected, after all.

There might not be room for a candidate who wants to be above the partisan fray, which would be a shame. If there’s one thing government could always use, especially county government, it’s a little less adherence to parties, and a little more to progress.

As a man without a party, Duguay must trust the voters to see it the same way.


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