by Ralph Routon
Sunday readers of the Gazette woke up this morning to something different. For the first time in many decades, the daily offered editorial endorsements for election races.
In the past, as allowed by parent company Freedom Communications, the Gazette had weighed in on ballot issues when compelled, but not individual races for public offices. After Freedom emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year, however, with a new ownership structure, papers apparently were given more, uh, freedom editorially.
Most of the Gazette's stands came out today, with more Wednesday. They're predictable, such as siding with Republicans for state treasurer and attorney general, U.S. House and sheriff. In one mild surprise, there was no position on the state Senate District 11 race between Senate Majority Leader John Morse and Republican Owen Hill, while not even mentioning the presence of a third candidate in that race, Republican Doug Randall, who actually could affect the outcome by taking votes from Hill.
Another surprise is that the Gazette apparently has no plans to make endorsements for state House races, because they aren't mentioned today or on the list coming Wednesday (which will include governor and U.S. Senate as well as county commissioner District 5, Peggy Littleton vs. Michael Merrifield.
Then again, perhaps the daily readers don't want any of this. Alongside its endorsements today, the Gazette is polling readers, asking whether the paper should or shouldn't do them.
So far, as of 6:45 a.m. Monday, only 28 percent say they want Gazette endorsements, 60 percent don't want them and the other 12 percent don't care.
Draw your own conclusions.
But the Gazette already had come out against Amendments 60, 61 and 62 as well as Proposition 101, same as we did in the Independent this current issue.
The rest of our Indy endorsements, covering local races and issues, will be in our Oct. 14 issue this Thursday. Mail ballots begin arriving Wednesday in 154,000 mailboxes across El Paso County.