The Washington Post downplayed the announcement of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele officially announcing his Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring liberal Paul Sarbanes. It appeared on page B-9. That's not at the top of B-9, either. It's below "Pr. George's Council Keeps Ban on Pit Bulls." Matthew Mosk has a fairly long story (and a picture), and you could argue that official announcement stories are boring, but Steele's story was actually placed further back in the Post Metro section than any other Senate candidate's official announcement story, even the darkest of dark horses. (Oddly, it's the top Metro headline on the home page at washingtonpost.com.) UPDATE: MRC's Ken Shepherd notes that his Maryland edition of the Post had Steele on C-1, as opposed to my edition delivered in Virginia, so factor that in.
Here's a rundown of the Post announcement stories, using the actual line from Nexis:
March 15: Former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, B-6. (Mfume Jumps In for Sarbanes's Seat; Wynn Decides Against Giving Up House of Representatives to Run for Senate, The Washington Post, March 15, 2005 Tuesday, Final Edition, Metro; B05, 826 words, John Wagner and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writers)
April 27: Rep. Ben Cardin, the Democratic front-runner, B-3. (Cardin Joins Md. Democrats' Race for Senate, The Washington Post, April 27, 2005 Wednesday, Final Edition, Metro; B03, 724 words, John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writer)
May 22: A. Robert Kaufman, self-proclaimed socialist, C-4. (Veteran Office-Seeker Joins Senate Primary Field, The Washington Post, May 22, 2005 Sunday, Final Edition, Metro; C04 , MARYLAND NOTEBOOK John Wagner, 522 words)
September 2: Lise Van Susteren, B-4. (Van Susteren Joins Senate Race; Bethesda Psychiatrist, Sister of Fox Anchor, Is 4th Democrat, The Washington Post, September 2, 2005 Friday, Final Edition, Metro; B04, 403 words, John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writer)
September 13: Drug legalizer/Ralph Nader aide Kevin Zeese, B-5. (Independent Announces Run for Senate in Md., The Washington Post, September 13, 2005 Tuesday, Final Edition, Metro; B05, 378 words, John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writer)
September 29: Allan Lichtman, B-2. (AU History Professor Joins Md. Senate Race; Lichtman, a Political Novice, Urges Democrats to Look Beyond 'Anointed' Choice, The Washington Post, September 29, 2005 Thursday, Final Edition, Metro; B02, 394 words, Nancy Trejos, Washington Post Staff Writer)
The best argument the Post could muster is that Steele was recently on A-1, on October 13. (Steele Factor Looms In Md.; Democrats' Hold On Black Voters Could Be Tested, The Washington Post, October 13, 2005 Thursday, Final Edition, A Section; A01, 1581 words, Matthew Mosk and John Wagner, Washington Post Staff Writers)
But it's still interesting to see how a major candidate can be put further back in the paper than "Early Snow Hits Md., Va. Mountains" (B-3) a senior-citizen roller skating club (on B-4).