I was chatting with a long-time local politico over the weekend, bitching about the P-I endorsement of Reichert, and the old-timer sarcastically responded “Big deal.” Both the Times and P-I endorsements were “soft,” and besides, newspapers “almost always endorse the incumbent.”
Huh. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that little gem of conventional wisdom, and anecdotally it appeared to be true, but I thought I’d start compiling a spreadsheet of newspaper endorsements this season to see how strongly that trend holds up. So far I’ve compiled results from the Times, the P-I and the Olympian, for all non-open, statewide, congressional, and legislative endorsements… and so far the incumbents are leading by a margin of 41 to 1, the lone exception being the P-I’s endorsement of Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark in the race for Commissioner of Public Lands.
I plan on adding at least the Everett Herald, the Tacoma News Tribune, the Columbian, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review to my spreadsheet, and no doubt the percentages will narrow some when the Times and other conservative ed boards inevitably endorse Dino Rossi, but I’d say the results thus far are statistically significant.
And there are folks in our local media who accuse me of lacking sufficient independence.