Do candidate endorsements matter?

I was doing my YouTube thing, where I search for Grafton videos while waiting for footage to upload, when I found this Doug Belanger video which was recently put online. He’s been endorsed by the National Organization for Women.

Dude. Please tell me your video editor did not choose the hot pink because “chick voters like pink.”

But it got me thinking about political endorsements. In the great scheme of things, does anyone really pay attention to them?

I’m going to deal with just the pair of Democrats at the moment — their primary, after all, is coming up on Sept. 16. Both men are boasting multiple endorsements from public officials and various organizations. It looks great in a campaign ad and on fliers — hey look, I must be a serious contender, all these serious people say they have my back! — but how often does the average voter look and say “Wow. A selectman and the Popcorn Poppers Union endorsed this guy, and he has a cute kid judging by this family photo. I’m voting for him!”

And I should note here I’m coming at this observation from a few angles. One, I’m a voter. That’s kind of obvious. Two, I covered politics for years. Three, my father was a politician and twice ran for state representative. I’ve been in that family photo, I’ve stuffed campaign literature in the door, I’ve held signs, I’ve sucked helium from balloons that had my father’s name on them. As a result of all of this… I probably overthink politics way too much.

Anyway, let’s take a look at everyone’s endorsements.

Michael Moore on his Web site boasts “over 60 local, regional and state elected officials and Democratic leaders” have endorsed him. His list includes: State Representative Vincent Pedone, Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis, Worcester City Councilors Paul Clancy, Barbara Haller, Bill Eddy, Kate Toomey, Joe Petty, Joff Smith, Phil Palmieri, Rick Rushton, as well as State Representative Vincent Pedone, former State Representative William Glodis, Worcester School Committee member Robert Bogigian, President of the Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association Mike Troiano, President of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety William Breault, Commander of the Vernon Hill American Legion Post Richard McClusky, and local Democratic leaders Marge Beqiri, Artie Korp, Ron Charette, Maureen Schwab, Fran Sena, John McGovern and Jack Foley. Democratic State Committee members Diane Saxe, Roberta Goldman, Mary Anne Dube and Ron Valerio; former State Representative Marsha Platt; Grafton Selectmen Chris Lemay and Peter Adams; Auburn Selectmen Carl Westerman and Bob Grossman; Auburn School Committee Member Wayne Page; Shrewsbury Town Moderator Kevin Byrne; Leicester Personnel Board Member Michael Schivick; former Grafton Selectmen Mike Sowyrda, Sheila Ide and Dan Pogorzelski; Millbury School Committee Member Bill Borowski; and Millbury Selectmen Bernie Plante, Francis King, Joe Coggans Jr., and Ken Schold; and many more.

Doug Belanger, on his Web site, lists State Representative John J. Binienda, 17th Worcester District State Representative James J. O’Day, 14th Worcester District Governor’s Councilor Thomas J. Foley, District 7 & Democratic State Committee Candice Mero-Carlson, Democratic State Committee, Mass Alliance, Neighbor to Neighbor, Leicester Democratic Town Committee, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Massachusetts League of Enviromental Voters, National Organization for Women. He also has 37 unions, including: Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Central Mass. AFL-CIO, Teamsters Local 170, United Steelworkers Union Local 2936, United Auto Workers Region 9A, Worcester/Fitchburg Building and Construction Trades Council, Roofers and Waterproofers Local 33, Sheet Metal Workers Local 63, Building and ConstructionTrades Council of Metropolitan District, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, American Postal Workers Union, Central MA Area Local 4553, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 96, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2325, Seafarers International Union, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1153, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 22, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1459, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 791, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 328, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 371, International Association of Fire Fighters – Worcester Local 1009, Massachusetts Nurses Association, United Steelworkers Union Local 2285, NEPBA – Worcester County Corrections Officers, Local 550, Leicester Firefighters Association, Utility Workers Union of America Local 369, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2321, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council #35, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 93, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Gay and Lesbian Labor Activist Network (GALLAN) – Pride at Work, Carpenters Local 107, American Federation of Teachers – Massachusetts, Education Association of Worcester. And, finally, Leicester Selectmen Rick Antanivica, Tom Brennan, Dianna Provencher, Lee Zagorski; Leicester School Committee members Mark Armington, Tammy Dillon, Jim Gonyea, Linda Looft, Scott Rider.

I don’t know. At a certain point, it becomes like my son’s Pokemon card collection — how many names can you collect? And I’m still undecided in this race and find myself wishing that the candidate who doesn’t get the nomination could then run in the empty Democratic slot for state representative, because I hate races that aren’t… races.

I’d love to give video equal time to Michael Moore here — I’ve already linked a YouTube clip of the Republican candidate, Shrewsbury Selectman John Lebeaux, as well, after all — but he doesn’t seem to have a video clip online. Oh, there are plenty of Michael Moores on YouTube, but they’re all the controversial documentary filmmaker and, while he has lots to say about the state of politics in America, he has yet to weigh in on the 2nd Worcester District.

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3 thoughts on “Do candidate endorsements matter?

  1. It’s a good question you ask. I believe the hope is that “if you support X and X endorses Y, then Y is probably a good candidate for you.” There’s the assumption that these politicians and organizations have backers and that the backers will go with the candidate chosen. I don’t know if it works that way in reality, and I don’t know how many voters really visit a campaign site for a local election like this, since the endorsements are all on the website and don’t get bandied about in any other way. Maybe in a direct mailing too, but I haven’t seen much campaign literature in my mailbox.

  2. I think people are visiting the candidates’ sites, even for a local race like this one, purely because I’m looking at my blog stats. I’m getting visitors from searches on the candidates names, and people are clicking on the sites I’ve linked in posts and on the sidebar.

    Granted, they’re not astronomical hits. It will be interesting to see what the turnout will be like in the primary. I’m guessing maybe a 25 percent turnout, tops — not much on the ballot, people are distracted by the presidential Election Day, primaries tend to be low numbers anyway.

    Dad lost his bid for the state rep nom by 39 votes. And that’s why I always vote!

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