Rough going in endorsement realm for Elk Grove politicians seeking to move up; Does it matter to independent voters?

This November, two of Elk Grove's current City Council and one member of the Cosumnes Community Services District Board of Directors are seeking to make big moves up the food chain in their political careers. Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen is seeking to become a member of the California Assembly, while Councilmember Pat Hume is competing to represent the 5th District of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors against CCSD Director Jaclyn Moreno.

In what could be described as a minor setback, neither Hume nor Nguyen received the Sacramento Bee's endorsement, which is highly regarded among Northern California's editorial endorsements. Within the last seven days, Nguyen's Democratic competitor, Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra, picked up the Bee's endorsement, as did Moreno. 

The Bee noted Nguyen's community involvement but said Guerra better grasped the challenges needed to represent the 10th District. More stinging for Hume was the Bee's endorsement of Moreno.

While Hume is more experienced and has some common sense approaches, as noted by the Bee, he is a status quo candidate. They said that Hume would be unable to bring a much-needed new perspective to a board they described as hobbled with "passive leadership."  

While endorsement can provide a shot in the arm to a candidate, does the Bee's endorsement have much significance? In past decades, endorsement's from major metropolitan newspapers were influential. 

But with a fractured and multi-faceted media landscape, except for publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washinton Post, most newspaper editorial endorsements do not have the influence they once carried much less other media outlets. 

A case in point was the Bee's endorsement of Duke Cooney over incumbent Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. Even though the Bee negatively portrayed Kennedy for the numerous COVID-19-related failings by Sacramento County, Kennedy easily won reelection in the primary. 

Incumbency has its advantages. 

Likewise, outgoing District 5 Supervisor Don Nottoli endorsed Hume. But how meaningful is that support? 

While many residents in rural unincorporated areas of Sacramento County may know Notolli because he is the sole local elected official, many of those voters are conservative and already inclined to support Hume. Furthermore, new Sacramento County voters are probably not aware of who Nottoli is and are likely to look at partisan identifications for voting guidance. 

So while Moreno was stung by not receiving fellow Democrat Nottoli's endorsement, and Hume and Nguyen were snubbed by the Bee, will those lost endorsements matter? 

We think not. 

In the end, aside from raising a truckload of campaign cash, successful candidates must generate a strong emotional reaction with independent voters, whether positive or negative. Endorsements are nice, but for independent voters who decide most close elections such as these races, the emotional motivation a candidate causes make the difference.  

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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

I agree with EGN. Endorsements don't mean squat. It is little more than politicians patting each other on the back. But they'll throw you under the bus the minute it benefits them. The candidate that usually wins is the one with the most money and the most campaign signs! Win or lose, print shops, campaign consultants, and companies that run political ads on social media and television are the big winners. Politicking is big business!

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