Bay Weekly Primary Primer helped you get to know the candidates crowding this year’s race to the general election. Even more important, it helped you cast your vote. Or would-be vote, if you were locked out of primary voting because of your political independence or residence.
That’s what you’ve told me, by letter, phone, email and in person.
Even Virginians — many of them weekend boaters who pick up Bay Weekly at the businesses around their marinas — told me they dutifully read the issue, though with perhaps less than their usual interest. Makes sense, because many of us who live and vote in Chesapeake Country were seduced here when we finally decided to live our weekend and summer pleasures all year long.
My ears have been as big as Minnie Mouse’s on this issue for two reasons. I put every story we print to the theoretical test of whether it’s one you’ll want to read. But I’ve had particular reason to wonder if our traditional election primer issues hold their value.
Those are questions I have to answer again, very quickly, because Maryland’s new early voting provisions mean you can go to the polls again as early as October 22 to vote in November 2’s general election.
To cover that election, the one that brings the prize, the way we did for the primary means we’ve got to get to work.
Two of the three factors that push my decisions say go for it.
First, you’ve told me our electoral guides work for you.
Second, I’m as convinced as ever that newspapers are one of the places people make their voting decisions. In fact, they’re often the clincher.
People look to newspapers for smart analysis. In Bay Weekly’s electoral guides, we ask the candidates to speak for themselves, answering questions framed to elicit responses to help you in your judgment. More perspective comes from the accompanying biographies. Like you, I’m shocked and indignant at candidates who ignore our repeated requests to be part of our electoral guide, reaching 60,000 voters at no charge.
Alas, advertising is the third criteria I use in determining what stories to run each week within the pages of Bay Weekly, and on that front the candidates fell short.
Candidates’ advertisements in newspapers help readers decide who to vote for. Additionally, newspaper ads show that the candidate values the medium, which resonates with people reading that very paper.
Only two candidates — Sue Kullen and Tom Angelis — bought primary ads in our pages. Kullen had no competition in the primary; she was investing wisely in the general election. Angelis came up short in ousting a popular delegate — but his spot-on ad was the talk of Southern Anne Arundel County.
In races where only a few votes divided victory from loss — and who knows in advance what races those are going to be — representation in Bay Weekly could have turned the tide for more than a few would-be contenders.
So in talking to you this week, I’m talking as well to the candidates you support and to their campaign organizations. Candidates who want to win are fools to disregard newspapers of all sorts — especially Bay Weekly, where you readers tell us you place your trust.
Tell your candidates you expect to see them in the pages of Bay Weekly. Don’t tell their competitors; their ignorance will improve your odds.