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Dweeb alert — Our political recommendations under a microscope

Some readers want to divine the editorial board’s political leanings by examining our election recommendations.

I suspect a lot of them won’t look any further than what it takes to confirm their conviction that we’re on the left or the right.

The fact is, we’re independent as a board and cover a wide range of political territory — left and right — as individuals. Some of our critics are convinced otherwise.

I’m working on breaking down our recommendations every way I can imagine. I’m not sure why, other than to satisfy my own curiousity.

I’m still figuring out all the ways to slice it, but in case anyone else is curious I’ll post what I have now and catch up later.

Judging by our record, a candidate’s best bet for obtaining the editorial board’s support is to be a Republican incumbent — not exactly a shocker since those are the candidates most likely to be in tune with Mid-Columbia constituents.

Here’s what I have so far, but fair warning — it’s a lot of numbers:

We made recommendations in 31 races — 22 of them were partisan contests, three were nonpartisan and the rest were initiatives and tax measures. In 21 cases our recommendations prevailed. Ten went the other way.

Of the 25 races involving candidates rather than issues, 21 pitted a challenger against the incumbent and four were for open seats.

In the 21 bids for re-election, we supported the incumbent in 15 cases — 11 Republicans and four Democrats. We supported the challengers in six races — four Republicans and two nonpartisan candidates.

In all, we recommended six Democrats. Two of them — Barack Obama and Carol Moser — were running for open seats and the four seeking re-election that I’ve already mentioned. Five of the Democrats we recommended were elected.

We recommended 16 Republicans. Twelve won. Three of them — gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, state treasurer candidate Allen Martin and Franklin County Commissioner candidate Lee Barrow — lost for sure.

It looks like voters also rejected Doug Sutherland, our recommended candidate in the race for state commissioner of public lands. There’s a chance he could still pull it off but for now it looks like our record for the 2008 will be 12-4 on Republicans we recommended.

Thanks to the new top-two primary, the choice in four of the races we weighed in on was between two Republicans. Anyone keeping score might want to give us only partial credit in those races.

Three races were nonpartisan — state school superintendent, Superior Court judge and Benton PUD commissioner. In two out of three in these important races, we recommended candidates who eventually won.

Three of the races were voter initiatives and three were tax measures. On initiatives, our record was two out of three. On tax measures we were out of touch — we recommended all three and all lost.

Of the 31 races where we made recommendations, 12 were statewide and one was nationwide. In nine of those cases voters were with us, and they went the other way in three cases.

But that’s comparing how they did in their whole jurisdictions — either the entire state or the entire nation. We compare differently if we look at just how those 12 races turned out in the Tri-Cities.

That will be the topic of my next post.

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