One of the first things a young editor learns, often unwillingly, is that mistakes happen every day. Most don’t matter much in the long run — a misspelled word, an incomplete sentence, or an overlooked detail that can be followed up later — but now and then a big goof shows up on the front page. You have to do what you can to correct it, learn from it so that you don’t repeat it, and move on to the next day’s edition.
We had one of those this week, when we called the state Senate District 35 race for Steve Dean. Dean was in a three-man contest for the Republican nomination to oppose Democrat Steve Hurst in the general election in November. He got the most votes, but he did not win a majority.
We reported the vote totals correctly, but when it came to calculating the percentages, we blew it. There’s no denying it, no getting around it, no covering it up. We just blew it.
When Ben Crawford, who gained enough votes to meet Dean in a runoff July 13, called Wednesday morning, he was the epitome of courtesy. The man had a right to yell, but he did not. He would have been justified in demanding redress, but he did not. He simply asked what happened and what the Daily Home could do to fix it, and he seemed satisfied with the response.
What we could do, and had already done, in fact, was correct the story immediately on our Web site and make plans to publish the correct information on the front page the next day.
Crawford, perhaps, has already moved on from the mistake. He has a campaign to continue, after all.
It’s time we moved on too. The takeaway lesson in this is to check and double check the percentages on vote totals. Crow is not an ingredient we like on our election night pizza.