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Best advice may be move out of district.

WHY ARE MY endorsement memories the stuff of nightmares? At the first paper I worked for, we endorsed a candidate for sheriff we later found out was a rightwing tax evader. Posse comitatus. Luckily, he never made it out of the primary.

Come the next election, we passed on the candidate who'd once booby-trapped a house trailer with a tear-gas bomb. But the guy we recommended still managed to get himself indicted after he got himself elected.

Our motto: "We'll do better next time."

Here in Anchorage, our problems seem more benign, if no less exasperating. We remember well the candidate who had perfected the politician's unnerving habit of referring to himself in third person.

"Eddie didn't have what you'd call a silver-spoon childhood," he told us, while we double-checked our notes, trying to figure out whom he was talking about. "Eddie knows what it's like to eat at the Hilton and at McDonald's." Eddie this. Eddie that. Mary knew better than to endorse this guy.

My colleagues at the Daily News still talk about the liberal Democrat who might have won their endorsement if only he'd missed his interview appointment. Even years later, a little free association exercise only turns up the word "slime." This unapologetically liberal paper endorsed the fellow's conservative Republican opponent.

Another legislative candidate was a little too honest for us, in a twisted sort of way. When we pointed out a contradiction between what the candidate had just told us and what he printed in his campaign literature, he leaned over conspiratorially and said, "I would love to be totally honest, but I can't make a difference unless I get elected."

As fate would have it, his opponent was the worst member in the history of the school board and on top of that had just been arrested for pilfering campaign signs. We not only didn't endorse in this race; we offered a word of advice to people in this unfortunate district:


So we'll do better next time. But if my experience in two states says anything, maybe we need to start before the silly season begins. Maybe the way for us to make a difference is to encourage better candidates.

NCEW member Mary Engel is an editorial writer for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:editorial endorsement
Author:Engel, Mary
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Mar 22, 1993
Previous Article:The joke's on the voters.
Next Article:Practice what you preach.

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