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The questions we planned to ask were to be earnest.

Instead, the brief conversation imploded and ended in a brief comment about our fairness.

Since the time he turned in his petition on May 8 for a shot at running as an unaffiliated candidate for Halifax County sheriff, we kept in regular contact with the board of elections office to see if Jimmie Silver collected the necessary 1,502 signatures so he could file.

On Tuesday morning we learned he collected the necessary signatures and more.

All that was left was for the state board to validate the signatures and then he could pay a filing fee.

Those were the only things left for him to do and he would be an official candidate, giving him the opportunity to run for sheriff on November 6 against incumbent Wes Tripp, who defeated challenger Tyree Davis in the primary.

It became our duty to ask him questions — how do you feel about getting the necessary signatures, when do you anticipate paying the filing fee, which was the last question we asked before the conversation quickly disintegrated.

Had the conversation not come to an abrupt end, questions about his experience and qualifications, what would make him a good, if not great, sheriff for our county would have followed.

We left one message, then a second after we received confirmation he obtained the necessary signatures.

He called after we left the second message.

We offered him congratulations on obtaining the necessary signatures and after that things fell apart.

We were left stammering after he said he didn't believe we treated him fairly. Then our phone beeped to indicate the party on the other line had hung up.

It's up to the reader's judgment on the way we treated Silver.

In our estimation, until his signatures were validated, until he paid the registration fee, he was never an official candidate.

Not being an official candidate, we believed we were under no other obligation until the time came his candidacy was official.

Once the official process was complete, we would have welcomed him to submit a statement on his intentions to run. He could have chosen to answer questions we would have submitted to him and he would have been offered the chance to comment on election night whether he won or lost.

As it stands now, his social media post stating he has decided to not run makes it all moot if it wasn't for the fact he challenged our fairness over the phone and then again with a broad stroke on his Facebook post referring to biased news or social media outlets.

If the remark referred to us, fine. We have learned patience and longsuffering since embarking on this news outlet and stand by our decision of not considering him an official candidate.

We adhere to several self-imposed standards when it comes to election time. We don't accept invitations to social media pages of candidates, we don't accept invitations to their fundraisers and we certainly don't donate money to their campaigns or display their signs or stickers.

If candidates want to advertise, they are certainly welcome to, regardless of who they are.

Those are our simple bullet points when it comes to campaign coverage and we will review other issues as they arise.

Plain and simple, as it stands now, one of our policies is if you haven't filled out the necessary paperwork, haven't paid the registration fee, you are not a candidate.

When you become one, the questions we have of you will be earnest so our readers can have some idea of where you stand on the issues — Editor