Crossing the Election Day finish line
Reaching Election Day was like running a marathon and finally finishing. And that’s for us opinion writers — I can just imagine how the candidates felt.
The annual test of endurance comes about because our newspapers choose to endorse candidates. Not all newspapers in this country do, but we believe it is part of our responsibility as leaders in the community.
Are we trying to tell you what to do? No, that’s not it. We are saying that after research, interviews and discussions, here are the candidates we consider best to represent the district or state. Weigh that endorsement — and the reasons for it — then decide for yourself.
I’d like to explain the endorsement process and how it all worked out. Some of this might be surprising.
We invite candidates to Editorial Board meetings at our newspaper’s office in Norwalk. Most candidates look forward to this exercise, or say they do.
As Editorial Page Editor (called Opinion Editor at some newspapers), I lead the local sessions, which include other editors and the reporter who covers that race. Photographers record the action.
For an hour, we talk about their reasons for running and question their views on a variety of issues. It’s a fascinating learning experience and the time always goes by quickly.
While reporters come to the meetings and usually write a story about it, they are not involved in deciding which candidate to endorse. We keep the line firm between objective news — their job, and opinion — my realm.
For local races, we conducted interviews for two state Senate districts and ran an endorsement for a third Senate seat written by Mike Daly, my counterpart at the Connecticut Post, because the district overlapped our papers.
The state Senate endorsements went for two Republicans — Tony Hwang and Toni Boucher — and one Democrat, Bob Duff. That’s just how it split.
Some decisions were quite difficult because both candidates had much to offer. And I wrote the endorsements knowing that one camp would be pleased, and one disappointed.
On Election Day, two of the state Senate candidates we endorsed won; one, Boucher, lost.
Candidates for statewide offices came to Editorial Board meetings at Hearst Connecticut headquarters in Norwalk. The Norwalk Hour is one of Hearst Connecticut’s eight daily newspapers. As a group, our endorsements speak with a strong voice.
These edit boards involved my Hearst opinion colleagues, John Breunig and Daly; no reporters. We interviewed candidates individually for governor (Ned Lamont and Oz Griebel; Bob Stefanowski declined), attorney general, U.S. Senate, and the 4th Congressional District. We endorsed the Democrats for those races, and all four won.
We question the candidates on behalf of you, our readers, and gain knowledge. I must confess, the interviews also are stimulating — not one was dull — and we came away with appreciation for each candidate who cared enough about our state to campaign for months on end.
Crossing that election marathon finish line felt great. I look forward to next year’s.
Contact Editorial Page Editor Jacqueline Smith at email@example.com.