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Elections are a marathon for a political candidate — and for journalists and voters.

The race begins with much fanfare and excitement. At the sound of the starter's pistol, there's a flurry of activities as the competitors jockey for their unique positions in the race.

By the time the finish line is in sight, so much legwork, determination and sweat have been put into the campaign that the individual moments seem to run together.

Now, the focus is on just putting one foot in front of the other. The finish line is all-consuming.

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But as that finish line draws near Tuesday, we'd encourage you to look back over your shoulder. We'd like to remind you of the information we've shared about these races and these issues in hopes of making your decision easier at the polls.

For the past two months, the News Tribune has published profiles that lay out who the candidates are in contested area races as well as why they want your vote. We've explored their views on a variety of issues including taxes, gun legislation, how to grow the economy, and state employee pay.

We've hosted multiple forums to get them to the explain further their stands on issues and to answer your questions.

In today's edition, we summarize the candidates' experience and their views on issues in our Voter's Guide in the Views section. We also have published the official Cole County ballot in our Classified section as a legal notice.

All of this information — from our staff stories, the reader-submitted questions, the forum footage and our Voter's Guide — can be found at

We believe society and our community are best served by an informed and engaged electorate. To that end, we want to thank the candidates for their time and effort to share with us who they are and why they are running. We also want to thank our readers who submitted questions and are engaged on the issues by attending our forums and contributing letters to the editor.

The finish line is within reach; it's just a few steps away.

See you at the polls Tuesday.

Gary Castor is the managing editor of the Jefferson City News Tribune.

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