Bipartisanship key to Telegraph endorsements

Starting Monday, The Telegraph will begin to roll out its endorsements for federal and state offices in anticipation of the Nov. 6 election.

Before we do, however, we thought it would be beneficial to explain the criteria used by our five-member editorial board this year to assess each of these races: governor, president, the state’s two congressional districts, Executive Council (District 5) and several local state Senate seats.    

Not that it’s any big mystery. Like most of you, we consider a candidate’s life experience, leadership skills, position on issues and – for incumbents or those who previously have held office – their voting records. We also take into account news coverage of the candidates, how they perform in debates and whatever we can discern from their sessions with our editorial board.

But this year we injected one other critical factor into the equation: Do we believe this person can work with members of the opposing party toward bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems, or is this person an inflexible ideologue unwilling to compromise for the common good?

By definition, then, we found party affiliation to be less of a determining factor this year. That wasn’t a dramatic change for us – we’ve endorsed members of both political parties over the years – but our search for candidates willing to work with the other side did alter the tenor of our endorsement meetings, roughly five hours of debate split over two sessions.

Our stated preference for less partisan candidates shouldn’t come as a surprise. We have complained frequently about the hyperpartisanship in Washington that contributed to the least productive – if not the worst – Congress in history.

Meanwhile, in Concord, a heavy-handed House speaker presiding over a 3-1 Republican majority resulted in a dysfunctional Legislature that made national headlines on numerous occasions – all for the wrong reasons and to the state’s collective embarrassment.

Speaking of the Legislature, we urge New Hampshire voters to follow our lead and give serious consideration next week to those candidates who have demonstrated or expressed a willingness to work with the other party.

People such as Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, an announced candidate for Democratic leader next year, who has built a solid reputation of being able to work with the other side during his 12 years in Concord.

Or Rep. Shawn Jasper, R-
Hudson, the deputy majority leader, who bucked House Speaker William O’Brien from time to time, which led to him getting bounced off the House Election Law Committee.

Or Rep. Mary Gorman, D-Nashua, a member of the House Education Committee who, like Campbell, has a history of working with Republicans during her seven terms in office.

Remember: We don’t endorse candidates to tell you how to vote; that is a personal decision to be made in the privacy of the polling booth.

We endorse candidates for the same reason we publish editorials the rest of the year – to share our insight on the important issues of the day as an engaged member of the community.

If it helps you to come to a decision – one way or the other – then all the better.

COMING MONDAY: Our endorsement for governor.