"This marks, we believe, the first time in modern Virginia that The Times-Dispatch has not endorsed a gubernatorial nominee." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch (October 20, 2013)In an editorial that laid it on the line, the Richmond Times-Dispatch refused to endorse Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian for Virginia's 2013 gubernatorial race. That news ricocheted around the internet as citizens woke on a Sunday morning, met with raised eyebrows and mild surprise from some while others nodded in solemn agreement.
This has, indeed, been an odd election year in Virginia.
The Times-Dispatch notes many of the issues in question and the final results are the same: they are not comfortable endorsing. Indeed, they note:
In the past, The Times-Dispatch has endorsed candidates with varying degrees of enthusiasm. We find it impossible to endorse any of the 2013 candidates with even minimal zeal.Interestingly, the Charlottesville Daily Progress, finding itself in the same boat, endorsed Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling as a write-in candidate, noting, "Do the write thing. Put Bill Bolling’s name on your ballot on Nov. 5. Virginia needs him."
Elections make voters complicit in the government they receive. If we would not urge a family member to vote this way or that, then we have no business recommending Cuccinelli, McAuliffe or Sarvis to our readers.
UPDATE October 28, 2013: Another newspaper refused to endorse in the 2013 gubernatorial election. On Sunday, the Lynchburg News & Advance wrote, "Put simply, not one of the three candidates for governor of Virginia deserves the office or has made a strong case that he is the best candidate. Not one of them, neither Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Republican Ken Cuccinelli nor Libertarian Robert Sarvis." And more.
UPDATE October 31, 2013: A third major Virginia newspaper has refused to endorse in the 2013 gubernatorial election. Is this unprecedented? The Roanoke Times editorial on Thursday noted, "... an endorsement carries with it the credibility of this institution. When a candidate who receives our support visits ridicule or even shame on the commonwealth, we share in that disgrace."
Then in a stunning reminder of the Charlottesville Daily Progress' endorsement of Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling as a write-in candidate, the Roanoke Times added, "Those who cannot in good conscience vote for the official candidates should consider writing in Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling."
With five days left until election day, 2013 continues to be one of the oddest in my memory....