When Broad + Liberty CEO Terry Tracy pitched us the Candidate Spotlight Series, we immediately knew we had something special on our hands.
Terry’s pitch was simple: twelve questions posed weekly to as many Pennsylvania candidates as possible, campaigning at every level of government. The questions would come from our readers — we knew what they wanted to know, because as voters ourselves, we wanted to know the same.
Our correspondence with the campaigns would be persistent and encouraging. Most importantly, we would emphasize that all are welcome to use our independent-minded platform to strengthen the voter-candidate relationship, a value we’ve stood by since we began this endeavor in 2019.
We were excited immediately. Pulling the curtain away from local politicians and challenging them on an issue-by-issue basis? Only Dorothy of Kansas would dream of such an act. Of course, we also had concerns. Were there candidates out there willing to talk to independent voters directly about specific policy, especially starting so early in the election season? Even if we cast the widest net possible, would we reel anything in?
With the series complete and the 2022 midterm election just days away, we’re happy to report our concerns were for naught.
From the U.S. Senate to the General Assembly, the regular responses we received as early as July proved just how important Broad + Liberty is to Pennsylvania’s political climate. Where else on or off the internet could voters in District 178 read about their candidates’ specific thoughts on inflation and domestic energy four whole months before the election? Even now, less than 24 hours before the midterm, most outlets are still choosing to cover the horse race, the negative ads, the monied interests. For months, we’ve covered how these folks actually intend to govern, at a level of detail that allows voters to connect the dots between policy implementation and policy outcomes. For these reasons and many others, we’re proud to say the Candidate Spotlight Series was a fundamental public good.
Of course, the responses we received each week were from a fraction of the candidates we reached out to. This never got us editors down. In fact, it emboldened us to keep pressing. After all, silence speaks louder than words. For example, it’s not a coincidence that senatorial candidate John Fetterman never once responded to our persistent, encouraging, and open-minded requests for comment.
By far, the most encouraging part of this endeavor was the response from our readers, which confirmed, week after week, why we’re so passionate about Broad + Liberty. Commenters flocked to our website in droves to voice their support for candidates of all parties and ideologies. Regular readers we never would have expected to vote liberal praised Democrat Ilya Breyman for his unabashed, well-articulated responses; those we never would have guessed would look right commended Republicans like Mehmet Oz and David Galluch. We editors read all the comments (even the not so nice ones), and throughout the past four months, we’ve been consistently empowered by the impact our series has made on independent-minded voters like you (yes, you!).
And that’s exactly why we’ll continue maintaining this platform and pressing your representatives even beyond election season. We will always champion the independent-minded voter. We will always promote diversity of thought. Broad + Liberty is a community for every candidate, every citizen, and every trailblazer to speak their mind and catalyze a conversation. Every means every. All means all.
To the consistent contributors, thank you for taking time out of your hectic campaign schedules to trust us with your words. To the unresponsive candidates, we see you — silence speaks louder than words. And to our loyal readers, thank you for joining us throughout this endeavor.
Let’s do it again in 2024.
—The Editors of Broad + Liberty