It’s a rare campaign season that doesn’t bring at least one complaint from a long-shot candidate who believes he or she deserves more coverage.
Such candidates often face severe funding limitations and poor name recognition, two conditions which usually go hand-in-hand. Sometimes they are members of one major political party running against an entrenched incumbent in a strongly partisan district. But more often they are independents or members of a third party, seeking to buck the establishment and give voters an alternative.
Case in point: Ted Cummings, an articulate and serious husband and father from Colbert, who operates a small ranch between shifts as a Steelworker at Kaiser Aluminum. He is also running as an independent for the U.S. Senate in 2016 for the seat occupied by four-term incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.
Cummings wrote after last week’s column discussed Republican Chris Vance’s plans to challenge Murray. This wasn’t an angry screed, and in a follow-up phone conversation Cummings was both thoughtful and amiable when discussing the fact that his campaign for the Senate is, at best, quixotic. But because this is a conversation political reporters have regularly with candidates, some of it warrants repeating here.
News coverage of a race doesn’t treat all candidates in the race equally, because it shouldn’t.