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Times endorses Smith; first non-Graham endorsement

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Mayor Jeff Graham ran for mayor five times between 1991 and 2007, and received the endorsement of the Watertown Daily Times in each of them — even the race in 1991, when he was a former journalist with no political experience; even the race in 1999 that he went on to lose.
The sixth time was the charm for an opponent of Mr. Graham.
The Times endorsed Councilman Jeff Smith in an editorial this morning, calling it a "difficult choice."
It wasn't the nicest endorsement I've ever read, basically positioning Mr. Smith as the better of two flawed candidates.
"Mr. Smith's and Mr. Graham's near silence about (the problems that Watertown is facing) is puzzling," the editorial writes. "Instead, Mr. Smith wonders about why Mr. Graham is a bachelor and Mr. Graham touts his incredible record of schmoozing at public events."
Youch.
But, the editorial says, "On balance, Jeffrey Smith should be elected the next mayor of Watertown. He has shown that he is capable of throttling his agenda in order to support projects which may not necessarily please him. He is young enough to learn to lead, to leave his grudges behind and to work closely with the city manager to promote the goals of the City Council."
The editorial takes a knock at Mr. Graham's blog and his bad behavior, where he's accused of promoting himself and yakking about things that shouldn't be yakked about.
"Mayor Graham has put the city at a disadvantage in dealing with the county because of his inability to maintain a confidence," the editorial says.
Mr. Smith didn't escape the rather scathing endorsement.
"Mr. Smith, on the other hand, appears to carry grudges," the board wrote.
But, the editorial concluded, "Mr. Smith deserves a chance to become city mayor."
The election is Tuesday.

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