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Etc.

Please don't get mad, OK?

Down the ballot (as they say in electoral politics) on Nov. 4 will be a race for City Council in McCook, Neb. But just because it will be overshadowed by the presidential contest doesn't mean that candidate Mike O'Dell wants his message to the voters to go unnoticed. So he decided to get it out – and out of the way – early. Solution: place a "robocall," or pretaped appeal not unlike those used by some telemarketers, to households around the town last week. The roughly three-minute message consisted of endorsements from former public officials, plus his own take on "important local issues." Now, with a population of roughly 7,500 residents, McCook isn't a large community. But even though the candidate is a Republican, in a state that tends to vote that way, he didn't want to annoy anyone, especially if his call should arrive at suppertime or during a favorite TV show. "I don't know of very many people who look forward to receiving automated calls," he conceded. But "this is the only [way to reach voters] that made economic sense." So he apologized in advance, promising to do this only once in "this election cycle." Will his strategy work? That won't be known until Nov. 5, but at least one resident seemed willing to cut him some slack, commenting on the McCook Daily Gazette website: ""The guy is being polite about it. I don't see any crime here."

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