Endorsements don’t generally move the needle much. They’re mainly of note to the political media, good for a quick space-filler on a slow newsday, quickly forgotten.
Labor unions are an exception to some extent, because if the endorsement rings true with the rank and file, the union can deliver a batch of votes — especially important in a low-turnout primary.
But when one politico endorses another, it’s not much of a deal.
(It’s a bigger deal when one politico fails to deliver an expected endorsement, as in numerous Republicans not backing Trump. As commenter David Ellenbogen pointed out, Bernie Sanders has not endorsed David Zuckerman for lieutenant governor. Bernie’s open support for Chris Pearson was a financial windfall for Pearson’s Senate campaign. But no love for Zuckerman. Interesting.)
A limited exception to the no-big-deal rule can be found in the case of Sue Minter’s announcement yesterday that she has the backing of dozens of current and former state lawmakers, including many key players in the Legislature.
Current officeholders number seven state senators and 46 members of the House. The senators include most of the body’s reigning powers: Dick Sears, Claire Ayer, Jeanette White, Ginny Lyons, plus Prog/Dem stalwart Anthony Pollina. Representatives include twelve committee chairs and several other influential members of the caucus. The former lawmakers include two former House Speakers and a sizable number of notables like Kathy Hoyt, Mike Fisher, Mark Larson, and Martha Heath.
That’s a lot of Democratic firepower. Which won’t move the needle much with your typical primary voter, but it does indicate substantial Democratic Party support for Sue Minter.
And now for some uninformed (but hopefully intelligent) speculation, entirely my own.
To me, this indicates a coalescing around Minter by Democratic regulars (plus a notable number of lefty/progressive types). All along, I think those regulars were more comfortable with Minter than with Matt Dunne (or certainly Peter Galbraith), but saw Dunne as potentially the stronger candidate and thus held off on making an endorsement.
Now, with less than a month until primary day, Dunne has apparently failed to create distance between himself and Minter. He was, essentially, given a chance to earn widespread Democratic Party support by building a lead — but since he hasn’t done so, the regulars can vote according to their comfort level. Hence, Minter.
Is this a big Biden deal? No. But it is definitely a deal. It is an achievement for Minter, who was widely seen as perhaps not ready for prime time. She has convinced quite a few top Dems to publicly support her. Or Dunne has failed to convince, or a combination of the two.
If the endorsements are backed up by organizational strength and networking reach, then Minter will win some votes. At the very least, the endorsements lend her campaign some credibility.
And while it may not help a whole lot, it sure can’t hurt.
For most of this long campaign, I’ve given an edge to Dunne. Now, I wonder if he’s, in fact, running from behind. Might explain this week’s “Almost a Woman” TV ad.