Calling candidate commentaries: Politicians' guest opinions wanted

As we get nearer to the July 30 primary election, we’ve had a number of inquiries from political candidates (and their representatives), wondering about our policies on publishing guest opinion submissions.

Candidates for offices that represent Southern Arizonans are welcome to submit commentary pieces for publication. Here’s what we’re looking for, and what we’re not.

The Tucson Sentinel accepts policy statements, explaining a politician’s reasoning for a stance on a specific issue.

We don’t put word limits on guest opinions; if you’re boring the reader, you’re only hurting your own cause. The same is true if you’re so pithy that you don’t explain yourself and back up your claims with facts.

Submissions by candidates should be on point — please address issues relevant to the office which you seek.

Please include:

  • Concrete, specific solutions to problems — including defining costs and proposed revenue sources
  • An honest assessment of the challenges faced in dealing with an issue
  • Links to authoritative, independent sources, including news reports on the topic at hand

What we don’t accept:

  • Repetitions of campaign or partisan rhetoric. Tell our readers — the people whom you wish to represent — something that’s more than buzzwords.
  • Fundraising appeals. The Tucson Sentinel is an independent, nonprofit organization. Please don’t attempt to abuse our good standing by attempting to raise money, including by linking to outside fundraising pages.
  • “Vote for me” appeals. Ditto. Explain what you’ll do in clear language, and if somebody agrees with you, they might vote for you. But focusing on an election “ask” in your submission is asking us to hit the delete button.
  • Attacks on other candidates. While it’s fair to contrast one approach to another, particularly when backed up with facts, we’re not interested in publishing hit pieces. Save that for your campaign advertisements (which we do accept, by the way). Focus on your platform, not your opponent. That doesn’t mean you can’t mention them, but talk about what you’ll do as well.
  • Don’t expect us to publish a press release. While many candidates have paid staff generating their written words for them, we’ll only publish commentaries that are at least penned in the voice of the candidate.
  • Want that sort of stuff? Buy an ad — we’ve got very affordable and effective campaign advertising packages available.

In the interest of fairness, we are highly unlikely to publish submissions made within a week of Election Day for a particular primary or general election. Nor are we likely to publish more than a single opinion from a candidate per week.

We accept candidate guest opinions to spark discussion among voters and the general public, not to back any particular candidate or point of view. We do not endorse political candidates. The public, including other candidates, will be allowed the opportunity to comment on all published pieces on social media, and all commentaries may be analyzed and fact-checked by reporters. Submissions may be lightly edited for grammar and style, but we won’t change the intent of an outside commentary. We reserve the right to decline to publish submissions — we do get quite a few.

Please email submissions to [email protected]. Include your commentary in the body of the email, rather than using an attachment.