By editorial board • 

Showering of April endorsements marks flowering of May elections

It’s that time of year again for the News-Register Editorial Board — or rather, that time of every even-numbered year, as we can generally count on getting odd-numbered years off.

Yes, we’re referring to the time-honored ritual of candidate endorsements for the May primary and November general election.

This year, our May ballots will list 36 candidates for governor, 16 for 6th District Congress, 10 for U.S. Senate, and seven each for labor commissioner and county commissioner. And contested legislative and judicial rates will swell the total yet further.

But we can’t ask you to wade through a political thicket we don’t find ourselves up to. So yes, on the successive Fridays of April 8, 15, 22 and 29, leading up to the end-of-month mailing of ballots, we plan to address all of the contested races. In fact, we plan to include races in every legislative district lapping into our home county, so will be facing a few that you’ll be getting a pass on.

So, does that mean we plan to carve out time to meet in person with all 87 spring hopefuls for whom hope springs eternal? No, it most certainly does not.

That would be a logistical impossibility on two counts: too many candidates, and too many for whom our little outpost would be too small to be worthy of notice in any event.

Example: We endorse for the U.S. presidency every four years. However, those races typically start with dozens of candidates, none of whom we can every recall making a local stop.

In the primary, we plan to invite the seven local county commissioner candidates for in-person interviews, and leave it at that. In the general, we plan to extend such invitations to the finalists for 6th District Congress, state legislative seats and any unsettled county commissioner seats.

And the rest? We plan to tackle them they same way you do — by catching televised or in-person appearances and reading voter pamphlet statements, newspaper accounts and website postings.

Do we think we hold the key that unlocks revealed truth? Absolutely not. In fact, in some races in the primary, we may limit ourselves to identifying our top two or three choices without settling on a single candidate to carry the battle forward in the general.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:

Our motivation in reaching sometimes divided and difficult endorsement decisions is not boosting a particular candidate into office. It is to give our readers the benefit of the facts we found relevant and the conclusions we drew from them, in hopes of helping to better inform their own kitchen-table decisionmaking.

They might well use our facts and the reasoning based thereon to reach polar opposite decisions, as members of this editorial board have all done on occasion in their own personal lives. After all, split decisions are no more unusual on our board than on boards on which you might have put in time.

We find — and hope you find — that having others wade through their thinking in a written format helps provide a better framework for personal decisionmaking.

We think that’s particularly true for people like us, who get paid to deal with political decisionmakers on a daily basis, as well as research rivals hoping to replace them next time around. That does give us useful insights from time to time.

We realize, based on long experience, that editorial endorsements aren’t likely to move the dial more than a tick or two, and only locally at that. But we feel priming interested readers to be more regular and better armed voters is potentially achievable, and that’s where we have set our sights.


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