State senate candidates doing the endorsement dance


Three Democrats running for state Sen. Patsy Ticers (D-30) open seat are busy peddling political endorsements, though the campaign tactic may say more about the candidates than just who they know.  

The primary may be months away, but Adam Ebbin, Libby Garvey and Rob Krupicka each vying for a shot at the seat Ticer held for 15 years have highlighted supporters including congressmen, former politicians and local public servants. 

Unusual? No. But when and how they announce their supporters reveal plenty about their campaign strategy, says Isaac Wood, a political analyst for Sabatos Crystal Ball and a staffer at the University of Virginias Center for Politics. 

They may be trying to trot out endorsements for different reasons and one major reason would be credibility, Wood said. [Its] a way of establishing yourself.

If you dont have a record to run on, its essentially having others vouch for you, he said. 

Which isnt the case in the run up to the August Democratic primary. Ebbin currently serves as District 49s state delegate, Garvey serves on Arlingtons school board and Krupicka is a sitting member of the Alexandria City Council and Virginia Board of Education. Each comes to the table with years of public service under their belts. 

If thats the case, they may be trying to spark a groundswell of support by proving themselves as an established candidate, Wood says. 

When you get to a certain point and you want to establish yourself as a frontrunner you might try and incite a bandwagon effect, he said. Dont you want to be a part of a winning campaign? Its not only one or two important endorsements, but a whole slew of them. Now everybody is in our camp.

Of the three of them, only Krupicka has an entire webpage devoted to endorsements, who is backing him and their statements explaining the decision to come out in favor of his candidacy. 

And then theres the pace of the endorsements. In the weeks following Ticers long awaited public announcement of her intent to retire, all three released a string of recommendations. Its a scatter shot approach designed to reach as many voters as possible, Wood said. 

Unless you have some personal connection, its not really important to you and thats why you see candidates trot out a wide variety of endorsements, he said. Maybe its someone you admire or an organization you belong to. Theyre eventually hoping theyre going to catch your attention.

The one kind of endorsement losing influence in the digital age according to Wood? The newspaper.