One of the fun things I do regularly on this blog is to predict who The Virginian-Pilot will endorse in upcoming elections. I usually have plenty of time, as the newspaper is often pretty late in releasing their endorsements.
Not this year.
Roughly six weeks ahead of the time frame of the 2009 gubernatorial endorsement, the paper issued its endorsement of Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe Sunday. It was a process of elimination:
The Republican nominee, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, would have no counterbalance to his extreme agenda. The Libertarian, Robert Sarvis, would have no easy way to get things done.
A spokesman for Cuccinelli’s campaign rejected an invitation to talk with this paper’s Editorial Board, making it impossible to know whether his views have evolved since 2009.
I just don’t understand why a candidate would not meet with an editorial board. It makes me wonder how seriously a candidate would, if elected, represent the people on the southside of Hampton Roads. (The Peninsula is covered by The Daily Press.) I can’t help but recall a conversation I had with Creigh Deeds in the runup to the 2009 election. He was convinced that the Pilot would not endorse him; after all, they had chosen McDonnell over him for AG in 2005. Nevertheless, he did the interview. And he got the paper’s endorsement.
Norfolk’s Ralph Northam is far and away the better choice for Virginia. Indeed, he is the best candidate running for statewide office this November.
When I saw on Twitter last night that the endorsement was coming today, I thought perhaps Jackson had not shown up for his interview, either. Apparently he did – but they weren’t impressed.
The ensuing months have revealed Jackson possesses an underdeveloped grasp of public policy, state affairs and the limitations of the office he seeks.
That will get you nowhere with this board.
Although first out of the gate with these two endorsements, I doubt many of Virginia’s other papers will disagree. And if the polls are any indication, neither will the voters.
The only race left is that of AG. The two Marks – Republican Obenshain and Democrat Herring – present an opportunity for all of the papers to demonstrate their interviewing prowess. That is, after all, the difference between the editorial boards and the rest of us: they get a chance to ask questions – and get answers – that the rest of us don’t; instead, we get stump speeches and sound bites. While I’ve been in an editorial interview as a candidate, I’ve never witnessed one from the other side, something I’d love to do. (For that matter, I’d like to see editorial interviews recorded and broadcast – that way, we can all see that side. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening soon.)
Depending on how Obenshain answers questions about his legislative past, this may be a difficult choice for the editorial board. Herring is relatively soft-spoken and contemplative, which may appear to some to be hesitant. If Obenshain convinces the board that he’s not the second coming of Cuccinelli, he could get their endorsement. Honestly, I don’t see that happening, so in the sole statewide race left, I’m predicting an endorsement of Mark Herring.