Cory Gardner (R) won the endorsement of the Denver Post in Colorado's contentious Senate race on Friday. The endorsement of the largest newspaper would be a boost for a candidate in any state, but given the Post's recent track record, it's a particularly good sign.
Of the last 11 Senate and presidential races, the Post-endorsed candidate has won nine times.
|1996||President||Clinton (D)||Clinton (D)|
|1996||Senate||Allard (R)||Allard (R)|
|1998||Senate||Campbell (R)||Campbell (R)|
|2000||President||Gore (D)||Bush (R)|
|2002||Senate||Strickland (D)||Allard (R)|
|2004||President||Bush (R)||Bush (R)|
|2004||Senate||Salazar (D)||Salazar (D)|
|2008||President||Obama (D)||Obama (D)|
|2008||Senate||Udall (D)||Udall (D)|
|2010||Senate||Bennet (D)||Bennet (D)|
|2012||President||Obama (D)||Obama (D)|
The two exceptions were in 2000 and 2002. In the first, the Post backed Al Gore for president. While he won the popular vote (as Democrats will quickly point out), he lost the electoral vote (as Republicans will quickly reply).
In 2002, the Post backed Tom Strickland (D) over incumbent Sen. Wayne Allard (R). The paper had endorsed Allard in 1996, when he and Strickland first faced off. Back then, the Post dismissed Strickland largely due to his negative campaign, which "has created considerable doubt about what kind of senator he would be." By 2002, the doubt had evaporated. Strickland was "more of his own person" than Allard turned out to be, and would be "unlikely to reflexively follow his party on every issue." Strickland got the endorsement, but Allard got the win, for a second time.
That's the silver lining for Udall. Allard ending up winning by about five percentage points, despite the paper's objections. The critiques of Udall in the Gardner endorsement are strident, focused on his lack of leadership and, more forcefully, the campaign he has run. "Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision," the Post writes. "His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince."
That's one constant in the Post's editorializing. "Many Coloradans are no doubt sick of the overload of negative ads that have assaulted them from both sides," it says of this year's race, echoing its endorsement in 2002.
The Post might be good at picking winners in federal races. It seems not to be making much of a dent in the campaigns that get them there.