Campaigning for the Times

As Jason Horowitz and I reported a few weeks ago, and as most of the people who read this site know well, the Times editorial page is probably the single most powerful player in city politics, and an unquestioned force in Manhattan. Today, Collins & Co. surprised everyone by endorsing Leslie Crocker Snyder for Manhattan District Attorney.

Without taking anything away from the independence of the Times staff, in retrospect Snyder’s campaign seems to have been aimed almost entirely at a single audience: The Times editorial board. The campaign consisted, at first, of a long string of policy proposals that got no press coverage at all, and seemed — politically — kind of pointless. Domestic violence, alternatives to incarceration, community courts, etc. Worthy, but they weren’t getting her any votes. Now it appears that the theory among Snyder’s advisors over at Klores was that if Leslie could be presented as a legitimate candidate — with ideas torn from the pages of Times editorials — the Times would be open to the argument for change.

One correspondent notes: “As you guys reported, there are zillion consultants who prepare candidates for editorial board meetings. Yeah, that’s important. But maybe more important is what you do for literally months before, even when cameras are not showing up.”

Scott Stringer, who launched a reformist push comfortably in advance of this year’s election, could also be seen as having waged a long, successful campaign for the endorsement.

All in all this year, the Times edit board does seem to be feeling its oats a bit. Partisans of Anthony Weiner, in particular, hope their candidate will benefit from the new mood up on the 11th floor.