Editorial: Why The Bee doesn’t endorse in non-competitive races for June 3 primary

Published: Monday, May. 19, 2014 - 12:00 am

On Sunday, The Bee’s editorial board made its final recommendation for the June 3 primary election by endorsing Gov. Jerry Brown for another term, his fourth in total.

The complete list of our recommendations for this primary election is below; in partisan races we generally have endorsed the two candidates we’d like to see in the general election in November.

If the list looks a little thin, that’s because it doesn’t include all of the races voters must decide.

There’s a reason for that: The editorial board is endorsing in competitive races, those in which there are more than two viable candidates running, or in nonpartisan races. Under the new primary rules that voters adopted in 2010, the top-two finishers in partisan races regardless of political affiliation will advance to the general election no matter how many – or few – votes they receive.

In nonpartisan races, such as the one for California superintendent of public instruction and in local council races, if one candidate receives more than a majority of the votes, he or she will win outright.

Many state and local races this year only have two candidates. They will move on to the general November election with nary a hitch on June 3.

Noncompetitive primary races include, but are not limited to, the contest for California lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and insurance commissioner. In some, there aren’t even two viable candidates – just one – and the front-runners are all but certain to win in November.

In local congressional races, both Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, each have just one serious challenger. Their races will become competitive in November. Of the three Sacramento County supervisor seats up this year, only one is contested.

The editorial board invests considerable time preparing for endorsements. We interview candidates and people who know them. We research their past comments and actions. We look at their records and previous campaign promises.

The point of election endorsements is to offer readers well-informed analysis. We have the resources, the access and the time to examine candidates. In order to best serve readers, we invest our time critically reviewing the people in the few races that might see a change between the primary and general elections, or be decided in June. That helps us prepare for the fall campaign, when we will be offering more recommendations.

Read more articles by the Editorial Board

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