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 jsmith@hearst­medi­

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