I’ll let you in on a secret: I hate endorsements. Don’t get me wrong. I recognize that they’re a public service, and people rely on them. But every time they roll around, I get a knot in my stomach.

It’s not the marquee races that keep me up at night. Most people have decided who they’re backing for president, and it will make little difference to them whether we chose Bernie or Bloomberg. That’s not to say we didn’t take that decision seriously; we did, just like every other race. We studied the candidates, we argued about them, and ultimately, we reached a decision that not everyone liked.

The ones I stress over are the lesser-known campaigns, the races in which many folks don’t even know the names of the people running. These are the ones where our endorsements matter.

And these are also the ones where we often find ourselves facing a dilemma: qualified, progressive candidates running on similar platforms for the same seat.

We try to get them right. But every time we send our endorsements to the printer, a nagging voice in the back of my head wonders which one we’ve screwed up. What if we recommend ousting a perfectly fine incumbent in favor of a challenger who says all the right things but turns out to be all talk? What if we play it safe and default to an incumbent but miss out on an exciting new voice? What if we’ve listened to the wrong people? What if there’s some piece of information we’ve overlooked? What if … something?

Editorial boards aren’t supposed to admit fallibility. We’re supposed to project confidence. But the more I’ve done this, the more I’ve realized the importance of transparency.

So here it is: Our too-small staff researched the 40 races that will appear on primary ballots in Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties. It was a gargantuan task. We asked all of the candidates to answer detailed questionnaires; you’ll soon be able to find their answers on our website. We studied their platforms. We considered their experience, either in public office or private life. We weighed their values against ours.

And then we decided. Oftentimes, we were unanimous, sometimes not. Some of those decisions will give me heartburn for the next week or two. In a couple of cases, we didn’t endorse people I personally know and like.

Our recommendations are just that: recommendations. We appreciate your trust, but we also encourage you to visit INDYweek.com/news/elections to read the candidates’ answers to our questions and see if they align with your values.

One quick note: In several races—usually when right-wing Republicans were trying to out-MAGA each other—we opted not to endorse anyone. It’s not that we won’t pick a conservative—someone who advocates for smaller government and lower taxes. It’s that we refuse to back lickspittle Trumpets who are in thrall to a would-be strongman and the aggrieved movement that put him in power. Nor will we lend our support to those who seek to restrict women’s rights to control their own bodies or put LGBTQ people back in the closet.

We refuse to choose the lesser of evils. This year, we want to beat the bastards. I won’t lose any sleep telling you that.

Early voting starts throughout the Triangle on Thursday, February 13. If you’re not registered, you can do so when you go to early-vote. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.

Let’s go change the world, people.

The INDY’s Primary Endorsements

Our Endorsements for President, U.S. Senate, and Congress

Our Endorsements for Governor and Council of State

Our Endorsements for Local and State Races in Durham County

Our Endorsements for Local and State Races in Orange County

Our Endorsements for Local and State Races in Wake County

The INDY’s Voting Guide

Comment on these endorsements at backtalk@indyweek.com.

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2 replies on “The INDY’s 2020 Primary Endorsements: Let’s Go Change the World”

  1. Hi, I appreciate the endorsement info, but I’m having trouble finding the Wake County Candidate questionnaires.

  2. Just want to say your efforts, your struggle to do your best regarding candidate endorsements is hugely appreciated. And you are so right; I very much appreciate the ability to go behind you and read the candidate responses. I’ve found in the past, if I have to choose between candidates who don’t provide a response and those who do, I lean toward the ones who responded. Thank you so much for helping the regular person get a better grasp on this often overwhelming process!

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