Monday, January 25, 2010

Endorsements that aren't publicized by endorsers

Sounds rather odd, doesn't it?

One might think that if a group was going to pick certain candidates to support, that group would want to publicize its selections to all and sundry.

But it doesn't seem to work that way. Only some groups -- e.g., the IVI-IPO or the Chicago Federation of Labor -- posted their endorsements on line allowing me to easily obtain and publicize their choices.

Other groups -- e.g., the Advocates Society, or the Chicago FOP (Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7), or the Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 -- publish endorsement lists even though these are not necessarily posted on the groups' websites. Eventually someone has let me know about these groups' endorsements so I could publicize their choices, too. Sometimes, as with this year's list of endorsements by the Illinois Committee for Honest Government, I might get hold of a group's endorsements before the list goes up on the group's website.

But then there are groups that make endorsements, who tell the happy candidates -- and don't seem to tell anyone else (except for, I assume, a mailing or an email blast to their respective memberships). The candidates publicize the endorsements on their websites -- and those judicial candidates want me to publicize those endorsements here, too.

This creates a problem for me. I had this problem when I covered the 2008 judicial primary, and I wrote about it then, too.

Let me illustrate this with an email I received this morning from the William Burnett Raines campaign. Their man, they tell me, has been endorsed by each of the following groups:
  • Latin American Police Association
  • Italian American Police Association,
  • Illinois State Police FOP Local 4,
  • Cook County Crime Commission,
  • Italian American Labor Council,
  • Operating Engineers Local 150,
  • Teamsters Local 710,
  • Teamsters Joint Council 25,
  • Teamsters Local 786,
  • IBEW Local 134, and
  • United Hellenic Voters of America
and they'd like me to add these to the list of candidate endorsements I'd included in the candidate's 'organizing the data' post. (For the index to these organizing the data posts, click here.)

It's not that I don't believe that the candidate in question has indeed garnered these endorsements. I believe. Other campaigns are sending me similar emails. Just to cite one more example, Peter Finocchiaro wrote me recently to advise that his candidate, Tracey J. Stokes, had also received an endorsement from the Italian American Police Association. He even sent me a .pdf copy of the letter.

But I don't know who else, if anyone, may have been endorsed by that group and I haven't been able to find out.

I am sending emails today to each of the groups mentioned in the email from the Raines campaign seeking a complete list of each group's endorsements -- and I'll post any responses I receive. And, of course, if a reader has a list -- a complete list -- of a group's endorsements and sends it to me, I can publicize that. (That's how it worked with the Chicago FOP. I received a list put up a post and sent a link to Mark Donahue, the FOP president, who was able to confirm that the list I received was correct.)

Voters who are comparing candidates can still see all the endorsements claimed by candidates on the candidates' own websites. The point is, though, that I don't want to post any endorsements from a group unless I can post all the endorsements from that group.

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