The newspaper industry has had a long history in endorsing candidates, and The Red & Black is no exception.
Each election year, we expect backlash from our readers, many of whom pose a valid question: How can we trust The Red & Black to be balanced and unbiased if it endorses a candidate?
The editorial board, which is the entity endorsing the candidate, is completely separate from our newsgathering staff. The editors and reporters on the news staff do not waver from their goal of giving unbiased political coverage in the wake of the endorsement.
As an additional reminder, The Red & Black is an independent student newspaper. We do not reflect the views of the University of Georgia nor do we let the university influence editorial decisions.
Our endorsement is based on the platform points of each candidate as well as what we know from our newsgathering staff, which closely follows the campaigns. From here, the editorial board decides on who the most beneficial candidate is to all the communities we serve, including University of Georgia students and Athens-Clarke County residents.
To make this decision, we analyzed each candidate’s plan for the state and how their proposed policies would affect the communities.
In an attempt to get a more personalized idea of each candidate, we planned to interview the two major party candidates and give them the opportunity for them to explain to our readers why their votes should go to them.
Unfortunately, after multiple weeks of trying to set up an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, his campaign stopped responding after the first email. His lack of support for the newspaper of Athens and UGA shows he does not prioritize our readers.
We strive to inform voters about all candidates on the ballot and where they stand on key issues. It’s difficult to justify endorsing a candidate who explicitly showed us he does not support our mission as journalists — Especially considering The Red & Black is the paper of Kemp’s hometown and alma mater.
On the other hand, his opponent Stacey Abrams has shown support for students by touring multiple colleges around the state and reaching out to student journalists. While in Athens, she chose venues to speak at that were accessible to a majority of the city’s population.
We also decided to endorse a candidate for future Red & Black staff members. With an already influential 125 years under our belts, we want to provide context and a historical account to what the editorial board felt would be the best outcome to the 2018 election, no matter who the governor ends up being after election day.
One of roles in the community is to start conversations, and we're excited to see everyone's engagement with the piece, though we do ask you make sure your comments are opinions you would be proud to voice in person as well. As always, if you would like to submit a letter to the editor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your full thoughts.
To read more about each candidate and to stay up to date on all midterm election coverage, visit our election page.