Newspaper Endorsements Take Center Stage, Again

It was a deja vu weekend in the Virginia governor race. Newspaper endorsements, seen as a key factor in the Democratic primary in June, returned to the spotlight after the Washington Post doubled down on its strong endorsement of Creigh Deeds from the summer.

Deeds, down in the polls just like he was before the primary, is hoping that the Post endorsement will again lead to the late surge that his camp has said was key to its landslide primary victory. But his opponent, Bob McDonnell (R), has a string of endorsements of his own, including one from a major state paper that endorsed Gov. Tim Kaine (D) four years ago.Deeds is already up with a TV ad touting the Post endorsement, which calls him the candidate “whose ideas hold the promise of a prosperous future.” The campaign is hoping lightning strikes twice, and the backing from the state’s largest paper will drive Deeds to another upset victory.

“This is a huge boost for us,” Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee wrote in an email to supporters over the weekend, “but it won’t mean much if the voters don’t know about it.”

But McDonnell fired back today with a list of papers across the state that have strongly backed the Republican. The Newport News Daily Pressendorsement Sunday was especially sweet for McDonnell — the paper backed Kaine in ’05. The paper serves Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, where most of its active duty military personnel are found. And though it has a recent history of endorsing Republicans (such as John McCain in ’08), the switch from Kaine gave McDonnell a newspaper victory of his own to cheer about.

Late Update
: Our Christina Bellantoni skypes, “The Deeds camp just sent out an Obama-style text message, asking people on their call list to ‘keep the momentum from our major WaPo endorsement going.’ The message asked people to text a reply if they wanted to volunteer and to pass the note along to their friends.”