NY Times Endorsements

There is a general belief among people active in politics that a candidate who challenges his or her opponent’s petitions forfeits any chance of receiving the New York Times endorsement or at the very least guarantees criticism by The Times of such “undemocratic” tactics.

Many, including me, think that fear is what prevented the Ferrer campaign from challenging the petitions of Christopher Brodeur & Art Piccolo for Mayor even though leaving them on the ballot increased the likelihood of a Primary Run-off.

I don’t agree with this view. I think that the Times Editorial Board considers a number of factors in deciding whom to endorse and whether a candidate takes advantage of the election law is a relatively minor one.

However, I do believe that if the Board decides to oppose a candidate and that candidate did try to remove his or her opponent from the ballot, the Times is likely to refer to that in its’ endorsement editorials.

This week’s endorsements are clear evidence that I’m correct.

The editorial begins by complaining about Party organizations that “prefers to bump competitors out of the race” rather than give a choice to voters. It then refers to the unsuccessful efforts to get rid of State Senate candidate Ken Diamondstone & Assembly candidate Terence Park. In the reference to Diamondstone, the Times mentions that his opponent Martin Connor is a prominent election lawyer. The Times then endorses Mr. Diamondstone.

However, a few paragraphs down, the Times endorses Ellen Young for Assembly over Mr. Park, without one word about the fact that Ms. Young’s campaign was behind the challenge to Park over “a tiny mistake” (the Times description).

So my advice to candidates don’t let the Times affect your decision on petition challenges!

P.S. As a matter of full disclosure, my company Prime New York is doing consulting work for Terence Park for Assembly.