Running as a No Party Preference or independent candidate for his old job as state Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner racked up newspaper endorsements at an impressive clip. In a news release Poizner noted he was 19 for 19 in newspaper editorial endorsements. Then he added even more newspaper endorsements so that a political aide could boast that Poizner grabbed 100% of the newspaper endorsements in the state. Can a string of newspaper endorsements help an independent candidate or any candidate win the race for a seat that is not well understood by voters?

Poizner faces state senator Ricardo Lara who has the backing of the Democratic Party and groups that usually support Democrats.

Poizner has the wherewithal to get the word out to voters that independent editorial boards have determined he is the best person for the insurance commissioner job.

How effective are these editorial endorsements at a time when newspaper circulation and influence is diminished?

I put the question of the importance of newspaper endorsements to Pete Peterson who as the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in 2014 also had an impressive track record of newspaper editorial endorsements in his race against Alex Padilla, the Democrat. Padilla prevailed 53.6% to 46.4%.

Peterson, now Dean of the Pepperdine Graduate School of Public Policy, thought the endorsement helped his campaign. “Running from outside the system without any established name ID, the endorsements were important to building awareness of my campaign around the state.”

Peterson also believed the endorsements helped introduce his candidacy to voters through a trusted medium.  “I was very grateful for the media coverage I received through the newspaper endorsements. While I “finished second”, I thought the endorsements were essential in providing my “outsider” run with regionally-trusted earned media about my campaign, and it also helped me make the case to donors that I was running a serious, ideas-based campaign. I think the endorsements were fundamental in making my race as close as it was.”

Poizner is not as concerned about moving donors. However, the idea of voters looking to “regionally-trusted earned media,” as Peterson puts it, can be very valuable.

The word of those endorsements has to get out to voters. Poizner has the resources and is sure to make the effort.