In Mark McClain, Pacific County has an excellent prosecutor. He should be re-elected.

It almost goes without saying that the main job of a prosecutor is to prosecute — to punish and discourage crime by fairly and competently carrying out state laws. McClain does so. We have not always been so fortunate. The previous incumbent in the office caused leading law enforcement officers to gnash their teeth in frustration, as puny plea bargains and lax charging decisions quickly rotated criminals back into neighborhoods.

Are the concepts of mercy and redemption appropriate considerations in prosecuting lawbreakers? Absolutely. A good prosecutor succeeds not only by throwing the book at someone when it’s warranted, but also by deciding when lesser consequences are in the best interests of society and the individuals involved. We expect McClain to continue weighing whether and how far to push cases. Like all prosecutors, he knows there aren’t enough prison and jail cells to always just “lock ’em up.”

McClain has an impressive record not only at the trial level, but also has successfully defended against high-profile criminal appeals. Recently, his efforts helped keep murderer Brian Brush in prison for life.

Some are annoyed at McClain’s zealous efforts on behalf of a county agency in a regulatory squabble with Oysterville Sea Farms. Several trial and appellate judges eventually rejected the county’s position, and it would have been preferable if the matter had been dropped sooner. But as we said on Aug. 28, “The bottom line still remains what it was when Oysterville was home to the Courthouse 125 years ago — we expect a prosecutor to vigorously pursue criminal cases. Everything else is secondary.”

McClain’s challenger, Pam Nogueira Maneman, is an impressive young attorney. We hope she remains active in politics and successfully seeks some other elective office in the future.

County voters have multiple contested races this year. That’s the way it should always be. Elective offices belong to the people, not the incumbents. If you are content with how someone is performing their job, re-elect them. Otherwise, give a new person a try.

We also take this opportunity to note, as we have in the past, that county offices all should be regarded as non-partisan. What political party a person belongs should make no difference in how they perform as a sheriff, prosecutor or other local official. We encourage all future candidates to do as several did this year by either declaring themselves independents or as having no party affiliation.

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