Citing growing political divisiveness, multiple focus groups, and a years-long internal debate, the Arizona Republic announced on Wednesday that the newspaper will no longer publish candidate endorsements.
The move ends a long tradition at this state's largest daily newspaper. It also reflects the shrinking influence of editorial endorsements in American elections.
In an article published in the Republic's opinion section, Executive Editor Greg Burton and Editorial Page Director Phil Boas wrote that the paper's decision came in response to reader feedback.
"They’ve told us in focus groups, surveys, and by their online reading habits that they want news and opinion more relevant to the way they live their lives," Burton and Boas wrote. "What they don’t want is another media kingmaker."
Some readers have been unable to separate the Republic's endorsements from its news coverage, despite the two departments running independently of one another, the editors added: "They tell us our endorsements alienate them and blur the way they read our news stories. They don’t see the sharp line we draw between our news and opinion content."
The decision comes four years after the Republic received death threats for endorsing Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump — the first time in the paper's history that the editorial board tapped a Democrat for president.
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