We find it difficult to make any definitive judgments in this governor’s race. After sitting down and hashing it out over criterion after criterion, we reached the conclusion that this exceedingly negative and nasty gubernatorial contest had reduced itself to a lesser-of-two-evils question.

Allegations of illegal use of state staffers, state planes and state ballots have marred a race that should have been about Wisconsin’s many pressing economic and social issues.

Instead, we have been treated to two candidates who traded barbs and accusations of infidelity to public office back and forth with a disturbing consistency.

Neither candidate serves as a significant boon to students in general, neither has been specific on his plans for funding UW, and both have promised to link financial aid increases to tuition hikes — an issue which we have stressed time and again.

Neither candidate has significantly distanced himself from the brewing caucus scandal; as such, we cannot make a recommendation based upon a reputation for sound government practices. Both major candidates were too close to the ugliness and too much products of their environments to remain untainted. As such, we only hope the next governor will stray from the trap of tacit compliance with any form of political corruption.

When the chips fall in this election, the philosophical differences between the two main contenders come down to dollars and cents.

Doyle’s inability to put forth a cogent explanation for how he plans to eliminate the budget deficit while honoring his pledges to various special interest groups (most notably teachers’ and labor unions) without raising taxes is our main point of contention with his candidacy.

Wisconsin’s state government, which bloated to gargantuan proportions throughout the ’80s and ’90s, has reached its breaking point. Currently the third highest-taxed state in the nation, Wisconsinites cannot afford a greater tax burden; communities and agencies alike must find ways to do more with less, and in some cases, less with less. Spending must be cut, significantly and immediately. We do not find Doyle’s fiscal promises substantive enough to warrant the change his leadership would present.

In that vein, we give our nod to incumbent Gov. Scott McCallum, but we do so with a watchful hesitance. Though fresh leadership in the state legislature may provide some relief, McCallum must prove immediately and forcefully that he can transfer his fiscally conservative rhetoric into sound policy and his cries for clean government into real reform.

“Holding the line” on taxes is only the beginning. A looming budget crisis and the lack of a state tobacco fund to draw upon will make critically important McCallum’s ability to show the savvy, commanding leadership woefully absent from his first administration.