Today, with ballots about to go into the mail to in-state voters, The Stranger released its highly-anticipated endorsements for the 2023 Top Two election in Washington State. Like The Seattle Times, The Stranger issues endorsements for city, port, school board, and county offices, but it releases them all at once rather than one-by-one on different days as The Seattle Times prefers to do.
With each paper’s set of endorsements now available to scrutinize, our team thought it would be interesting to do a comparison and see where the papers agree and disagree. You might think the papers would be far apart in their choices, and sometimes they were… but not always!
Here’s a grid:
For Seattle City Council, The Seattle Times and The Stranger were far apart.
But as you can see, three candidates for three other levels of government (county, port, school board) were fortunate enough to score endorsements from both papers: Jorge L. Barón, Fred Felleman, and Gina Topp.
Each of them has two opponents.
Felleman is an incumbent; Topp and Barón aren’t. Topp and Barón probably stand to benefit the most from going two for two with the newspapers.
Something our team noticed last year is that Seattle-area candidates who won the endorsements of both papers did well in their respective races.
In an adjacent district, Chipalo Street got 41.53% (a plurality).
All of them were running for open seats and didn’t have the advantage of incumbency. All secured the endorsements of both papers last summer and all went on to become state representatives by comfortable margins.
They now represent the 36th, 34th, and 37th Districts, respectively.
We know from our Seattle and King County polling that newspaper endorsements and media coverage matter. 50% of King County voters surveyed last July by Change Research for the Northwest Progressive Institute said that at election time, they go to mass media like The Seattle Times, KING5, or KUOW (NPR) to obtain information about what is on the ballot and make a decision.
The only source voters in King County count on more is the official voter’s pamphlet published by King County Elections — 83% said they use that resource.
In a few weeks, we’ll have data from the Top Two election to study. We’ll see if the candidates who won the endorsements of both papers cruise or not.
Our guess is that they at least well positioned to avoid elimination.