Editorial: What our candidate endorsements mean

This week, we'll begin offering our recommendations in the key races up for election on Nov. 8.

Today, let's offer a few words about what they are and aren't.

We believe endorsements are part of our obligation to the community and we put a lot of thought and effort into them.

Like you, we care about our community and we care about our state and about our country, and those concerns are at the heart of the endorsement tradition — when it gets down to it, the only reason we do them.

Because of what we do, we often have more access to the candidates than you do and we cover government and politicians with an intensity that may give us a different perspective than you have. The endorsements are a way for us to share some of the unique vantage point we have.

But we do not believe they are sacrosanct or unassailable. They're a factor for you to consider when preparing to vote. but only that.

If they spur you to debate or to look at the elections more closely, the endorsements have served their purpose even if you reject our recommendations.

But of course, we wouldn't write these endorsements if we didn't hope you would consider them and even share them with friends and family.

What is our politics?

We have allegiance to no party and frankly are skeptical of party apparatus in general. We believe public servants owe their loyalties to the people, not to their parties, and that candidates too tied to their parties are as conflicted as candidates too tied to any other special interest.

In other words, we value independence above all else.

Every election season, we endorse Democrats and Republicans. Over the years, we've endorsed our share of both up and down the ballot.

We endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 and then John Kerry in 2004 after Bush got us into a war on false pretenses. We endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and then Mitt Romney in 2012 after Obama chose brinkmanship with Congress over collaboration.

In other words, we do make mistakes and readily admit them.

We are conservative on issues of government spending, tend to be progressive on social issues and moderately hawkish on matters of national defense and foreign affairs.

We believe our state government is beholden to special interests and that its financial mismanagement is at near-crisis levels.

We believe a healthier two-party system would make for a healthier state. We believe healthy two-party systems make for better county government, too.

All things being equal, these views are reflected in our endorsements. We hope you will find them helpful.

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