November 2, 2016

We’ve been asked here at The Daily Times Herald in recent days if we are planning on endorsing candidates this election cycle.

We are not.

No Iowa newspaper our size dedicates more resources to political coverage, both here in the Carroll area and at statewide events like Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride or the Democrats’ Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines.

We’ve interviewed Hillary Clinton in Carroll, and asked questions in person of Donald Trump at news conferences and events.

It is no stretch to say that The Carroll Daily Times Herald enjoys a statewide reputation where political coverage is concerned. (Hence, a lot of the questions about potential endorsements.)

This paper has provided extensive coverage of the congressional and Statehouse and county races. We’ve talked to the candidates countless times and recorded their views for your reading.

Our editorial pages have featured strong views from a variety of perspectives, from those of our writers to pro-Clinton pieces from Breda-rooted Merle Wilberding to a full week of essays from Craig Williams, the chairman of the Carroll County Republican Party whose keen eye led to terrific insights into the GOP convention in Cleveland.

Our front pages have featured detailed coverage of candidate visits and analysis and the chronicling of interviews conducted from a rural-Iowa perspective dealing with issues central to life here, and more often than not, absent from the national narrative of the day.

We believe we’ve served the public with thorough reporting. We trust you to make the right decisions for Carroll County, Iowa, and, indeed, the nation.

What’s more, like our country today, the ownership of this newspaper is split in its politics. We could not, even if we wanted to, speak with unananimity of voice for the top offices on the ballot. And we have a long-standing policy of not endorsing candidates at the local level.

We have elected for a straightforward approach in which the columns printed in the editorial section appear with the bylines of their authors.

In the past, this newspaper has supported on its opinion pages, with the full force of the newspaper, both Republicans and Democrats, from President Barack Obama to Arizona Republican Barry Goldwater to Republican candidate for governor Rod Roberts, a former Carroll state representative whose Terrace Hill campaign was first suggested in our newspaper.

We know from interacting with dozens of campaigns that we are respected as an honest broker, an independent-minded voice, one that puts Carroll first. That voice is needed now more than ever in a divided nation.

Going forward, we believe our editorials are most valuable on local, non-partisan issues, matters on which we have deeply relevant, but certainly not exclusive, professional and archival knowledge and insights because we spend hours covering meetings related to, for example, school bond issues and city referendums.

Expect to read editorials on those matters.

And we may perhaps endorse candidates. Now is not that time.

As for the Nov. 8 election, we would strongly express this view: we have great confidence in Iowa’s Republican secretary of state, Paul Pate, and Carroll County’s Democratic auditor, Kourtney Irlbeck, to oversee fair and legitimate elections.

Our trust is with them and you.