The Globe Endorsed Republican Richard Tisei

The Globe editorial page has surprised readers this morning by endorsing Republican Richard Tisei for Congress rather than incumbent Democrat John Tierney. Newspaper endorsements typically don’t influence a race very much, but in this case, The Globe‘s might. The reasons cited shouldn’t be new to anyone following this race. Tierney, the paper says, hasn’t been forthcoming about his family’s illegal gambling scandal. And Tisei “makes an excellent blueprint for New England Republicans.” (That’s what Rush Limbaugh might call a RINO: Republican In Name Only.) The editorial makes two arguments: First, that though Tierney has been competent, his family’s problems are disqualifying; and second, that Tisei is Republican, but not that Republican. Here they tout his bipartisanship:

The kind of bipartisanship that Tisei practiced on Beacon Hill is increasingly difficult in Washington. And to be sure, Tisei’s stances on some issues may be too conservative for some voters. He promises, for example, to work for the repeal of Obamacare. (Never mind that he voted for the Romneycare that inspired it.) But Tisei, unlike others in his party, isn’t in denial about problems with the current health care system, and he’s amenable to compromise.

Newspaper endorsements don’t typically have enormous impacts on a campaign, so why should we care that The Globe endorsed the more conservative candidate in an election? Well, as The Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve notes in a roundup of presidential newspaper endorsements this week, the opinion pages reflect public sentiment, and they show which campaign messages are sticking. Anyone forced to sit through the political ads this season knows that Tierney faces questions about his family and Tisei has been tied to the national Republican party. For The Globe at least, the former is a more serious charge than the latter.

Furthermore, endorsements do matter when they’re surprising. People expect The Globe to endorse a Democrat, so when it does, they yawn. When it endorses a Republican, people ask why. That’s not great news for Tierney. As political strategist David Guarino notes on Twitter this morning:

Oh, and meanwhile, the Herald has surprised absolutely no one by endorsing Mitt Romney this morning.

Rep. Tierney’s family scandal turned off the editors.