I was pleasantly surprised by the news that the Packet and Gazette not only planned to more thoroughly assess federal, state and local political candidates this fall, but also issue endorsements. That it did on a selective basis, and by and large, the paper did a fine job.
However, it should be noted that the papers endorsed only four candidates for statewide offices: Nikki Haley for governor, Ken Ard for lieutenant governor, Matthew Richardson for attorney general and Frank Holleman as the "clear choice" for state superintendent of education. That both Richardson and Holleman practice for the same law office that has represented the papers in the past automatically raised a red flag. And in particular, the race for the education superintendent, pitting the political warhorse and insider Holleman against the newcomer and outsider Mick Zais, was one of the more fascinating and important contests in the state.
But the papers' endorsement of Holleman didn't even acknowledge Zais' existence. Rather, it read more like a resumè, a listing of credentials and accomplishments ad nauseam. I suspect the paper might have become entangled in its own business affairs in its backing of Richardson and Holleman. How can a paper not support its friends in court? It is understandable, but it doesn't represent the soundest journalism.
In Beaufort County, Haley and Ard won easily, while both Richardson and Holleman lost by significant margins.
Despite this observation, the Packet and Gazette are to be congratulated for this initiative, which promises to help us to be more informed, better voters.
Bruce Wager St. Helena Island