Do endorsements really matter in politics – local, state, national?

From today’s State

“McCain, more than any other candidate, hopes voters factor endorsements into their decision-making.

McCain has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell and S.C. Senate Majority Leader Glenn McConnell. By one tally, McCain has 48 of 71 Republican lawmakers backing him.”

The article goes on to say that Governor Sanford (who endorsed McCain in 2000) will sit this one out.

All this reminds me of my opinion about endorsements – they may look good on paper but they aren’t going to win the race for you. Maybe I’m wrong?

Does one person’s name make that much difference? Or, is it the candidate himself and his message, abilities, experience and/or passion to serve, that make the difference?

Ever since I became a public servant, I’ve held true to my stance not to endorse candidates in local races. With races at the local level – Mayor, County Council, Town Council, School Board, etc – I believe you, the voter, have the time and resources to follow the race closely and weigh all the candidates. You also have a chance (or should) for one-on-one face time and Q&A sessions with each candidate at local events.

In statewide or national races, you may not have those opportunities. Where candidates aren’t as accessible here locally and there is less of a chance for you to get to know the candidates and their positions, I feel it appropriate for me to assist you with my public support and opinion. In the past I have endorsed Lt. Governor Andre Bauer for his statewide races and most recently Govenor Mitt Romney for his Presidential race.

While I’m in the minority of state policitians supporting Governor Romney, I am pleased to be joined by several conservatives here in the Midlands: Representatives Nikki Haley, Chip Huggins, Ted Pitts and Senator Ronnie Cromer.

Regardless how things end up with the Presidential race, Republicans will “endorse” the same candidate for the General Election. Now how much weight will that carry??

I’d be curious as to your thoughts. Do endorsements matter? Are you more willing to vote for someone because of who’s backing them? If you don’t have the time/resources to vet the candidates (like Presidential), I’m guessing endorsements do make a difference. In local races, I’m thinking they don’t. You’re smart enough (and close enough to the candidates) to form your own opinion.

I think people, not politics matter. Now if you hear your neighbor is supporting a candidate, that’s a whole other type of endorsement in my opinion. One that matters!