Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Won’t Endorse for Governor

With Inky's non-endorsement, means state's two largest papers are sitting out this election.

So this is kind of weird: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has decided to endorse nobody for governor — a week after the Philadelphia Inquirer also refused an endorsement. That means two of the state’s biggest papers are sitting this election out, editorially speaking.

The two non-endorsements are different. The Inquirer presented its no-endorsement as a reader-oriented innovation — not everybody bought that explanation — but the folks cross-state simply can’t stand either of the two major candidates.

The Post-Gazette writes:

Despite his experience as an elected official, Mr. Corbett became governor four years ago as a novice in dealing with the Legislature, and he never figured out how to win the allies and exert the influence he needed to advance most of his agenda. His supporters say deal-making is not in his nature, but they too freely give him a pass that ignores the amount of plea bargaining and other negotiations that are common in the prosecutor’s office. Regardless, his ability to harness the power of a Republican majority in both chambers never matured and now the Nov. 4 election is a stark referendum on him as an incumbent.

But would Mr. Wolf be any more effective?

Perhaps because he self-funded his primary win and has had a fat lead in most polls, the novice candidate has left some of his views undefined. He has been reticent about the details of his plan to change the income tax structure, claiming he can’t be specific on who will pay more and who will pay less until he has a look at the inside books. That claim rings false.

His zen-like answers to questions on how he would deal with a Republican-led Legislature are unsatisfying, too. If he truly believes, as he says, that lawmakers will come around to his way of thinking if they just listen carefully to what he wants to do, his performance in office could be just as disastrous as Mr. Corbett’s and make him, too, a one-term governor.

Unfortunately, voters don’t really have a none-of-the-above option when it comes to electing governor. To the extent they, like the papers, sit it out, they’ll just be letting other voters make the choice for them.

Papers are under no obligation to endorse, of course. But it would be nice if the choices they made had some bearing on the realities faced by readers. One of these candidates is going to win. If the papers can’t tell us which candidate should win, they might at east do us the favor of telling us who should lose. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]