How we reach our endorsement decisions

I love elections. It’s the best time for an editorial writer. It’s a challenge to understand all the issues and get to know candidates well enough to make a judgment.

The hard part, of course, is the reaction of those who disagree with our positions. I’ve been on the telephone a lot this week, and my email has been red hot.

Several people have asked how the editorial board reaches its decisions. Here’s my response:

* For the endorsements, I gather as much background as I can on the candidates, invite them to send me their campaign statements, compose a series of questions and share it all with the editorial board ahead of time. We bring in all the candidates in each race at once and treat it like a forum. Each candidate makes opening statements, then we ask questions.

* After they leave, the seven members of the editorial board share their initial reactions. At times, we put off a final decision until later, and those follow-up discussions can be extensive. Sometimes, I’ll email follow-up questions to the candidates.

* For the propositions, I read everything I can find — all the fine print. If I don’t understand something, I call an expert. Then I compile the background for the editorial board and we discuss each issue at length.

* As you can imagine, getting seven intelligent people to agree on positions they feel passionate about is not easy. But our current board works hard to find consensus and do what’s best for the community and The Desert Sun.

I’ve just finished what I hope is the final draft on our presidential endorsement, which will appear on Sunday. Agree or disagree. Call me up to vent. Tell me why we’re wrong. But please keep reading.