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In Hampden District Attorney Race, We Recuse Ourselves…

UPDATED 8:57PM: For a correction, the original version of this post stated 3 candidates are running in this race. There are 4.

(via Google maps)

As we cram in a few more stories and endorsements before tomorrow’s primary, we feel it is critical that we separate one race in which we will not endorse. While it is not the only such race, it is unique in the reasons for our abstention and also in the race’s paramount importance.

The field of candidate for Hampden County District Attorney is incredibly varied offering four individuals, if all white men, who nevertheless each offer something different. Whoever wins the primary tomorrow, and effectively, the office as well, will face incredible challenges.

A new approach to fighting crime is needed. The next DA will need to take a serious, hard look at staffing to ensure that office reflects the community it serves, while retaining the best qualified candidates possible. The next occupant of that office must also fight tooth and nail for more resources in the office’s budget. While these matter affect all communities in Hampden County, they are, without a doubt, particularly vital to our home base of Springfield.

We ourselves are not making a selection because our editor-in-chief, an attorney himself, may apply for a position in the office come January. Earlier this year, he was a candidate for a position there and it was our intention not to endorse certainly if our editor-in-chief received the job and pending news of the position’s filling. With the prospect of another application, we feel it would be highly inappropriate to declare our preference in the midst of a heated race.

Never mind the personal impact if we chose poorly. We, in effect, would be offering not only our political judgment of the county’s needs, but potentially conflating it with who should be our editor-in-chief’s boss. That is a conflict and bridge too far.  We will not cross it.

We have interviewed three of the candidates for district attorney and we urge you to review them and our political guide on the race. Hal Etkin, despite repeated requests, never got back to us about an interview.

Of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, we would only add that of the three we did interview, we investigated these mattes and it is to our satisfaction that the foibles of each are not insurmountable.

Of course we have an opinion in this race, but it will not put in this space.

You, the voters, must choose. But choose wisely!