I am finally writing a story about local politics. The Orange County Register is starting to release their endorsements for the March 2020 primary election. In the effort of full disclosure, CEC Consulting is the general consulting firm running the campaigns of Jim Palmer, Ken Williams, and Tim Shaw (three of the OC Register endorsed candidates). Here is what they have endorsed so far:
OC Board of Supervisors (District 1)- Andrew Do
OC Board of Supervisors (District 3)- Don Wagner
CA State Assembly (73rd District)- Laurie Davies
OC Board of Supervisors (District 1)- Jim Palmer
OC Board of Supervisors (District 3)- Ken Williams
OC Board of Supervisors (District 4)- Tim Shaw
Proposition 13- No
These are just who they have endorsed so far; however, it is unlikely that they will endorse in some of the other races that are on the ballot. The question then exists, why is this such an important endorsement?
Newspapers have been declining over the past decade. This article from the Washington Post discusses the decline of newspapers and what the future can hold. However, the readers of newspapers are considered to be highly educated.
In the Presidential campaign, we are faced with constant 24/7 coverage of the top tier campaigns. You could make the argument that endorsements from newspapers (or any other endorsement for that matter) do not matter much. People will make up their mind based on the constant stream of information that is available for this race. Ask Elizabeth Warren how much the Des Moines Register helped in her campaign in Iowa.
However, when you have campaigns for down-ticket races where very little information is available, these newspaper endorsements can make a tremendous difference. With very little information out there in a race for County Supervisor or County Board of Education, people will likely be influenced by an endorsement from a non-partisan newspaper.
We will see the results of the primary election in less than three weeks. If any of these endorsed candidates win in a close race, we can easily reflect on whether or not the OC Register endorsement pushed them over the top.