Questions about the race? We'll answer them today.
Post reporters Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner will be online at 2 p.m. to discuss their stories today on the debate and Bill Clinton's Virginia visit, as well as any other aspect of the Virginia governor's race. Submit questions now or read the full discussion.
Earlier today, Post editorial board member Lee Hockstader took questions about the board's decision to endorse Deeds in the race -- read some excerpts from that discussion after the jump.
Herndon, Va.: The Post tried to play it cagey and act as if they were looking at all of the facts before choosing but, really, is anybody honestly surprised that the Post is endorsing the Democtratic nominee for governor?
Lee Hockstader: I can't say whether anyone was surprised. I can tell you that The Post has endorsed many Republicans runming for office at all levels in Virginia and Maryland. A recent list includes Bob Ehrlich, candidate for governor in Maryland in 2006; Tom Davis, the former Northern Virginia congressman; Frank Wolf, a current Northern Virginia congressman, Connie Morella, a former Maryland congresswoman, and John Warner, the now-retired U.S. Senator from Virginia.
Falls Church, Va.: I know that the Post chooses not to report polls other than its own, but other polls are showing McDonnell now leading Deeds by 12 or even 19 points. It looks like your endorsement has driven independent voters away from Deeds. Do you regret having issued it, seeing what harm it's done?
Lee Hockstader: We make our endorsements based on our best, honest assessment of the qualities and policies embodied by the candidates. We make no assumptions about the effect the endorsement might or might not have.
Kensington, Md.: I am curious about when the practice of endorsing candidates began. Regardless, I think in this age, people have access to so much information that a newspaper endorsement is totally pointless. From a business perspective for you, any endorsement is counterproductive because those who agree with you will be indifferent and those who disagree will feel alienated.
Nobody needs or is asking for newspaper endorsements anymore (besides perhaps the candidates) and it on net erodes your paper's credibility. I believe the public actually has a stake in their preferred paper's quality, and consequently we really, really prefer if you cease ALL candidate endorsements. Please, just stop; it's silly. Take the lead and other newspapers may follow suit.
Lee Hockstader: Newspapers have been endorsing candidates for many, many years. I agree that readers have a multitude of options to turn to when formulating their opinions. We feel there is value in The Post's endorsing candidates. It's a real-world choice that many of our readers are honestly stuggling with. We don't expect people to take our endorsement as the gospel, or make their decision based on it exclusively. It is a reflection of our best reporting and judgment. I might add that we understand it makes things difficult for the news side of the paper, and some of our colleagues over there wish we did not endorse.
Fairfax County, Va.: I changed my vote from Brian Moran to Creigh Deeds the night before the primary election because of your primary endorsement. If you had simply endorsed Deeds, MacAuliffe or Moran, that alone would not have mattered to me at all. What made the difference was the actual logic, reasoning, and evidence of your written endorsement. You pointed out things about each candidate that I had known but not thought about in the same way. It was very persuasive.
Your general election endorsement of Deeds is also very effective because you spell out, point by point, the reasons for your endorsement. Again, a little thumb's up or thumb's down from the Post would be meaningless to me. It's the arguments you make, which I can then consider for myself, that are powerful, and I would argue, irrefutable in this case. I hope you keep writing endorsements clearly and effectively in this vein.
Lee Hockstader: Thanks. We don't pretend that the candidates we endorse are perfect. Along with voters, we're trying to figure out whose views make sense for Virginia. In the governor's race, transportation has obviously been at the top of the agenda for many voters, particularly in Northern Virginia. Having looked very carefully at both candidates' positions on transportation, we concluded that Bob McDonnell's are simply not credible. Creigh Deeds's approach, which does include higher taxes, makes sense. Without higher taxes, the chances are nil of solving a transportation deficit in excess of $100 billion over the next 20 years.
Christopher Dean Hopkins
October 21, 2009; 1:12 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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