In the Athens City Council at-large race in the Nov. 7 general election, we are punting. This doesn’t mean we’re going to kick a ball anywhere; rather it means we’re forgoing an endorsement.

Often when newspapers decide not to endorse in a race, it’s because they either don’t want to offend anyone or they haven’t had a chance to sufficiently research the candidates or issues.

That’s not the case with this non-endorsement. In nearly equal measure, we admire all five candidates running for City Council’s three at-large seats. If we were to recommend three of them, we’d be implying that the other two were somehow lacking. Yet, each one of these candidates, in our view, would bring intelligence, experience and diligence to his or her seat on City Council.

The candidates include two incumbents, Patrick McGee (independent) and Pete Kotses (Democrat), who both are thoughtful, committed, contributing members of the current City Council; appointed council member Arian Smedley (a Democrat who has excelled in a variety of community roles in recent years); Democrat Sarah Grace, a local business owner with strong involvement in the community; and Independent Noah Trembly, an advocate for people with disabilities who has insightful ideas about addressing important issues in Athens, such as affordable housing and improved accessibility for people with disabilities.

For the city of Athens, this is the perfect election race. No matter which three candidates garner the most votes, the city is the winner. After we punt on this endorsement, city voters can take the ball and run confidently with whichever three at-large City Council candidates they choose.

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