In the Arena


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Heading into election day tomorrow, we have two interesting–but not fascinating–endorsement fights in close races. In the Georgia GOP governor runoff, we have Sarah Palin’s candidate Karen Handel against Newt Gingrich’s endorsee Nathan Deal. In the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, we have Barack Obama’s candidate, the unelected incumbent Michael Bennett, running against Bill Clinton’s endorsee Andrew Romanoff.

Why isn’t this fascinating? Because endorsements are periphera; voters rarely make their judgments based on such stuff. Indeed, politicians endorse for three reasons: rewarding loyalty (Nathan Deal was a Gingrich ally in the House, Romanoff was a Clinton supporter, Bennett is an incumbent Democrat), picking a winner or picking someone with ideological affinity (Handel is a Mama Grizzly). My colleagues, always looking for an angle, will no doubt try to read something into various endorsers’ popularity based on the results–that would be a mistake in three of the four.

Palin’s endorsement of Handel–who had been languishing until Big Mama Grizzly made her choice–might not be insignificant…if Handel wins. Beating Newt in his own state, with a lesser known candidate, ain’t cheetos.