FRANCESTOWN, N.H. — The New Hampshire Union Leader, a statewide newspaper known for its influential endorsements, is to endorse a presidential candidate this Sunday, the paper’s editorial page editor confirms.
The endorsement is highly coveted and one of the few prominent in this state, since opinions in favor or critical of a candidate have been known to appear day after day on the front page. In 2008, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts faced a barrage of difficult editorials, while John McCain enjoyed the paper’s nod. In 2000, it went to Steve Forbes.
But Romney has former Gov. John Sununu on his side, who is said to be building a gap between the campaign and publisher, including organizing a dinner meeting this fall.
Other candidates have already been taken to task this time around.
Businessman Herman Cain skipped a meeting with the paper’s publisher earlier this month, in a scheduling miscommunication. Michele Bachmann ended up on the paper’s bad side after claiming that business in Washington, D.C., kept her from campaigning in New Hampshire.
“Actually, a politician’s first duty is to tell the truth,” the paper editorialized, citing eight weeks of missed votes. “Rep. Bachmann’s explanation failed that duty.”
And Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, faced several pieces this fall, including one arguing his policy proposals were unspecific.
The paper has no editorial board, though a panel including the paper's publisher, Joseph McQuaid, editorial page editor Drew Cline, and a reporter, often senior political reporter John DiStaso, typically interviews each candidate. Front page editorials are typically signed by the publisher.