Crawford County Meet-Up for Change’s effort to take the partisan out of a clean campaign pledge hasn’t changed the mind of the Crawford County Republican Party chairwoman.

“I don’t anticipate any signings of any pledge by our candidates,” said Robyn Sye.

Meet-Up for Change announced Thursday the group’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship of the Crawford County Campaign Practices Pledge effective immediately. The group said it “wanted to remove any real or perceived barriers or reservations that candidates might have about agreeing to the pledge based on its sponsorship.”

Crawford County Republican Committee previously said the pledge was too partisan to merit GOP support because of Meet-Up for Change’s involvement. Meet-Up for Change’s Web site is paid for and maintained by Democracy for America, a group associated with Howard Dean, who now serves as chairman of the Democrat National Committee.

Sye said even though the group is no longer sponsoring the pledge, they were still involved in crafting the pledge.

“The pledge itself is a nonpartisan issue. It’s something that was put forward to clean up campaigns and get candidates focused on the issues,” said Tom Cagle of Meet-Up for Change, whose group explained the local pledge is based on ones that have been used in Rochester, N.Y.; Hawaii; the State of Texas Ethics Committee; and the code of ethics of the American Association of Political Consultants. “I hope it goes forward. I think it’s time people take back elections.”

Marcia Metcalfe, chair of Crawford County Meet-Up for Change, said, “Maybe the candidate will individually step up. I still believe it can improve the process locally. This doesn’t have to be partisan. Everybody benefits on both sides of the alley on campaigns that deal with issues.”

She doesn’t think the Republican Party is opposed to the pledge’s idea, but instead had issues with who is involved.

Sye agreed that she isn’t opposed to pledge’s concept, but she doesn’t trust how the pledge will be enforced.

“Why would our candidates lock themselves into someone else’s objective analyses about what is negative and not?” she asked. “In concept I’ve always agreed with no negative campaigning. It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear the negative, the dirt.”

She said, however, it will be up to individual candidates to decide if they want to sign the pledge.

Meet-Up’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship doesn’t affect support for the initiative by Allegheny College’s Center for Political Participation, wrote Meet-Up for Change in a press release. The center is continuing to accept signed pledges from local candidates. It also will proceed with its previously-announced plans to organize a community ad watch team that will check and report on the accuracy of political advertisements, press releases and direct mail, so that these findings can be shared with the public for their information when evaluating candidate statements and positions.

Dan Shea, director of the CPP, couldn’t be reached for comment.

What remains to be seen is if the pledge will overshadow other election issues.

Cagle said that is something the citizens will decide.

Sye said she fully expects what she calls an “artificial issue” to continue through the election though she hopes campaigns focus on the “real meat” — issues like tax reform, lowering taxes, reducing spending and reforming health care.

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