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Last modified: 10/31/2010 12:00:00 AM
Kimberly Lavoie, Queen of the Martians, tapped into the political frequency with her antennae and didn't like what she was hearing.

She had intercepted signals from Paul Hodes and Kelly Ayotte, from Charlie Bass and Ann McLane Kuster, from John Lynch and John Stephen. Now she feels she needs to shelter her two space-alien children, both boys, before they return to Mars.

No use corrupting that planet as well.

"I turn off the TV ads all the time," said Lavoie, living in Concord during her scouting mission here on Earth. "They drive me crazy, all this negativity. I'd rather them say, 'This is what I'm going to do.' I don't like the negativity. I have young children, and they listen to the TV the same time I do. It's a bad role model."

While all sorts of characters walked the streets during downtown's rainy and cold Halloween Howl on Friday night, it was easy to unmask frustrated, angry, disillusioned voters. They were everywhere. Candidates in Tuesday's elections didn't have a ghost of a chance at getting positive reviews. Voters were spooked.

The politicians have ignored their own records and ideas, trick-or-treaters said, choosing instead to point fingers elsewhere. It's been that way since the primaries last summer.

Dick Stevens of Bow said plenty before saying anything about the political ads on TV and radio. Huddled with family under cover near Edible Arrangements, he simply rolled his eyes as the rain fell. "The ads are far too negative and misleading,"

Stevens said. "People should be talking more about what they're going to do instead of trying to run down their opponents."

More than a dozen people, none directly affiliated with anyone's campaign, all said the same thing, that the ads they've seen this summer and fall have been far too negative. Negative, negative, negative.

During the primary, we were told that Ayotte, the former attorney general, was responsible for the loss of people's nest eggs after a massive investment scam. More recently we've been told that Lynch has been letting rapists loose from prison. We've heard Stephen blamed for keeping a stalker on his staff. We've been told he is also being investigated by the attorney general in Rhode Island for a consulting deal.

And while you can connect dots that are miles apart to conjure up an attack on an opponent, voters often see right through it. "That's one of the ads that I think is most vicious," Stevens said. "From what I understand, they are not actually investigating John Stephen. And I'm a Lynch supporter."

There you go. A Democrat defending the Republican candidate for governor, certainly a reflection on how bad things have gotten. We get the trick, while they pursue the treat.

"They fake out the general public, and the ones who don't pay a lot of attention to what their real positions are," said Donald Forsberg of Laconia. "All of a sudden they start throwing anything and everything that sounds good. Integrity is gone.

"Let's get it over with," he said. "I can't wait until I see an ad for Campbell's Soup. Between the auto ads and political ads, everyone is a used car salesman. I'm getting tired of it. Let's get back to common sense."

Common sense? When was the last time you recall that during an election season? Rob and Brenda Barth of Concord were with their daughter, dressed as Nemo, waiting for the rain to stop.

Rob's parents are seniors. He says they remember the good old days. "They said they don't recall it being as bad as it is now," Barth said. "My dad is 79, and he said this is by far the worst he's ever seen it."

Brenda Barth complained about a radio ad she'd heard from the Stephen campaign. A little girl asks why Lynch is doing a bad job. The mother explains how good life would be if Stephen wins Tuesday. "I found that to be very negative, to bring children into the negativity," she said.

Brenda Barth is a history teacher at Bow High. She says her students are jaded, even at such a young age. "Now we're turning off the younger generation," she said. "It's very disappointing because I work very hard to encourage them to vote, and now we're losing it."

The rain ended about 6:45 Friday evening. The digital sign outside a bank read 46 degrees. Store employees kept handing out candy, to Gumby and Pokey and Curious George and butterflies. Two of the trick-or-treaters looked exactly like candidates Ann McLane Kuster and Kelly Ayotte.

The streetlights mysteriously went out at 7:10 p.m., leaving everyone in the dark. The Queen of the Martians was nowhere to be found.

Guess she's had enough.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com.)


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