As I noted in an article posted Sunday, The Gazette’s endorsement process wrapped up Sunday with a vote of confidence in John McCain for president.

While that might be the most high-profile of the endorsements, I would argue it’s not the most important. If you’re interested in national politics, you already know what each candidate stands for and have an idea of which is most in line with your views.

Where the endorsements really help shed light on things is at the local level.

The Gazette took at look at many of the local races and the editorial board weighed in on them.

You can find the endorsements for Linn County Supervisor and Sheriff here, the Iowa state House here, State Senate here and here and our endorsements for U.S. Congress here.

In every election season, there’s a lot of talk about bias in the media. Republicans accuse newspapers of being too liberal, and Democrats accuse them of being too conservative. While it is true that The Gazette has never endorsed a Democrat for President, you would be hard-pressed to find a bias in the endorsements. Rather than look at party, the editorial board looked at qualifications and made a judgment call about who would do the best job. There is a mix throughout of both Democrats and Republicans.

A few questions: Do newspaper editorials matter to you? Do you even read them? Do political parties matter in local elections?

I already mentioned the information we’ll have for you in our voter guide and the online candidate forums, but The Gazette also endorses candidates, from local races all the way up to the level of President.

Our editorial board will be meeting this week to decide on those endorsements. Here’s a list of all the races they’ll be talking about:

President

McCain/Palin, Republican
Obama/Biden, Democrat

U.S. Senator

Tom Harkin, D-Cumming
Christopher Reed, R-Marion

U.S. House

1st District
Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo
David Hartsuch, R-Bettendorf

2nd District
Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon
Marianette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa

3rd District
Leonard Boswell, D-Des Moines
Kim Schmett, R-Clive

Iowa Senate

District 18
Swati Dandekar, D-Marion
Joe Childers, R-Marion

District 20
Randy Braden, D-Vinton
Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone

Iowa House

District 29
Nate Willems, D-Lisbon
Emma Nemecek, R-Mount Vernon

District 33
Dick Taylor, D-Cedar Rapids
Kathy Potts, R-Cedar Rapids

District 36
Gretchen Lawyer, D-Marion
Nick Wagner, R-Marion

District 37
Art Staed, D-Cedar Rapids
Renee Schulte, R-Cedar Rapids

Linn County

Sheriff
Brian Gardner, D-Cedar Rapids
David Zahn, R-Cedar Rapids

County Supervisor

District 2
Linda Langston, D-Cedar Rapids
John Erceg, R-Cedar Rapids

District 3
Ben Rogers, D-Cedar Rapids
Eric Rosenthal, R-Cedar Rapids

District 4
Don Gray, D-Central City
Brent Oleson, R-Marion

District 5
James Houser, D-Cedar Rapids
David Machacek, R-Alburnett

Johnson County

Land Conservation bond issue

Now it’s your turn. E-mail me who you’d endorse in each race and why, and also tell me whether newspaper endorsements matter to you.