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How The Gazette will endorse candidates in Iowa’s 2021 local elections
The Gazette editorial board is including more than 50 local candidates in our election process
Four candidates for Cedar Rapids mayor will field questions at The Gazette’s mayoral forum tonight. Readers can register to ask questions and view the livestream at TheGazette.com/crmayor.
The forum is just one part of the newspaper’s 2021 election coverage in news and opinion. In the next few weeks, The Gazette editorial board will make endorsements in several local races and run guest columnist from the candidates.
Endorsements are not intended to sway the outcomes but instead to give readers perspective and get candidates on the record about important issues. That’s especially important in local contests where there is not a huge body of available information about each candidate.
Our endorsements and editorials have no influence on The Gazette’s news reporting.
With only about a month between the filing deadline and the start of early voting, it is not possible for us to meet with all the candidates on ballots in Linn and Johnson counties. We narrowed our endorsements to races where we think we have something to contribute — Cedar Rapids mayor and City Council, Iowa City Council, Marion City Council and Cedar Rapids School Board.
As part of the process, we invited more than 20 candidates to meet with the editorial board. This week and next, we are hosting virtual meetings with them individually to talk about the issues and their vision for the community.
Our endorsements will be the consensus view of four editorial board members — executive editor Zack Kucharski, opinion editor Todd Dorman, manager of brand initiatives Quinn Pettifer and columnist Adam Sullivan. We tend to favor candidates whose views align with our stated positions on topics relevant to their office.
It’s important for readers to understand that our endorsements and editorials have no influence on The Gazette’s news reporting. Our colleagues from the news section sometimes attend meetings with candidates but they play no part in our deliberations and likewise our opinion writers don’t direct news coverage.
In addition to endorsements, we are asking more than 50 candidates for local office to write guest columns and complete questionnaires. That includes candidates for city office in Hiawatha, Coralville and North Liberty, and school board seats for Linn-Mar, Marion Independent and Clear Creek Amana. Elections in smaller jurisdictions are just as important as the others, but we don’t have the time or local expertise to make knowledgeable assessments on the candidates.
We also invite community members to make their own endorsements. Letters to the editor up to 250 words in support of local candidates can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(319) 398-8262; email@example.com
Opinion content represents the viewpoint of the author or The Gazette editorial board. You can join the conversation by submitting a letter to the editor or guest column or by suggesting a topic for an editorial to firstname.lastname@example.org