I did pretty well with my predictions on who The Virginian-Pilot would endorse this cycle, including the one statewide contest that I managed to get in before they endorsed. I missed one – the Portsmouth sheriff’s race. And it appears that there will not be an endorsement in one race – the 100th House.
It is difficult to measure the value of a newspaper’s endorsement, so whether the endorsed candidates will go on to win is another thing entirely. But I believe there is value in garnering the endorsement, particularly for down ballot contests.
These campaigns don’t have the resources that the top of the ticket has. They have to work a lot harder to get their message out. Much has been written about how the electorate in Virginia’s off-year elections is far different from that of presidential years, most notably that it is older – the very demographic that reads the newspaper. Campaigns are always looking for earned media – and a newspaper endorsement is about the best earned media a candidate can get.
The Pilot released Voter Guides for all of the contests on the south side of Hampton Roads. Worth a look.