Yeah, on a local level, I don't personally see much point in even paying attention whether someone has a D or an R next to his or her name. If I see an ad or get a mailer touting someone's "family values", I tend to automatically vote against him, because I see it as shameless, meaningless pandering. The same thing if they go on about abortion and/or gun rights - those are not issues that generally come up locally, so again, shameless pandering.
I feel your pain regarding voting. For a long time, I felt as though my approval was the kiss of death.