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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Endorse this!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Five days remain until this year's midterm elections.

Can you tell?

Political ads and press releases have been flying every which way for months.

We've seen the "Terry vs. Terry" ads and the inception of "Big Debt Chet."

Most of the ads are what we've come to expect from politicians, though secretary of state candidate Matt Schultz has cranked up the electric guitars for a few ads that have been featured on his website, but I haven't seen or heard them elsewhere.

No matter the politician, the phrase is the same: I'm such and such and I approve this message.

National politicians apparently approve some of those messages, as evidenced by the massive number of endorsements next to each name.

Rick Santorum visited Spencer to endorse Iowa House District 6 candidate Jeff Smith after attending events for U.S. Rep. Steve King and attorney general candidate Brenna Findley.

Palin has raised more than $1 million through her political action committee SarahPAC for 53 candidates, including Findley and Branstad in Iowa. The former vice president candidate was criticized when Bill O'Reilly asked her who she had endorsed in the New Hampshire primary and she could not remember.

Mitt Romney has endorsed 38 candidates in Iowa through his Free and Strong America PAC. Perhaps he's trying to make up for finishing behind Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Iowa Caucus?

But Huckabee isn't rolling over, either, as 14 of his 90 HuckPAC endorsements are in Iowa.

On the other side of the aisle, President Barack Obama name dropped just about every Iowa Democrat while visiting Iowa City on March 25. He is currently featured in a facebook ad urging, "Don't let the GOP take over. Vote early for Democrats now!"

Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell on Oct. 12 in Des Moines.

Many high-ranking Democrats who are either in heated races themselves or are not seeking higher office are letting Bill Clinton lead the way with more than 65 endorsements.

Unlike the Republicans looking to position themselves for a run against Obama in 2012, the Democrats in office seem to have less motivation to speak out for the "little guys and gals" in other states.

But, how important are endorsements anyway?

Obama's endorsements were questioned when Martha Coakley failed to fend off now Sen. Scott Brown for the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. Brown took office Jan. 19, the same day New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gained his title, after defeating another Obama endorsee, Jon Corzine.

Creigh Deeds was supported by the president during a failed run for governor in Virginia and, most recently, long-time incumbent Arlen Specter fell to Joe Sestak, though he, too, was endorsed by the president.

Maybe that should not come as a surprise, considering Obama's approval rating is only 43 percent.

On the other hand, what percentage of voters approve of Palin endorsements?

In New Hampshire, 51 percent of voters said they are less likely to vote for a Palin endorsee, compared to 26 percent on the other side of the spectrum, yet New Hampshire Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte -- who received a Palin endorsement -- is leading 50 percent to 35 percent over Paul Hodes.

This is just one example that shows it is nearly impossible to measure the value of endorsements.

At the same time, endorsements can energize a campaign, especially if they are made in person.

Findley, for example, was beaming after being endorsed by Romney and Huckabee. She has reportedly gone on to out-fundraise incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller by more than $600,000.

The real question in every race boils down to this: after all the endorsements are made, the money is spent and the ads are run, who will emerge victorious?

Regardless of political position or opinion on endorsements and campaign spending, get out there Tuesday and help answer that question.

Gabe Licht
Junior Moments