Over the past few weeks, members of the Star Tribune Editorial Board have interviewed more than 50 candidates seeking its endorsement in local, state, congressional and U.S. Senate races.

We selected contests that we think are especially newsworthy or competitive, or because they are of special interest to readers in the Twin Cities metro area. The endorsements are based on reporting and research by the Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom. News reporters and editors are not involved in the endorsement process.

Among the first recommendations this year are for sending Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith back to the Senate. Read those editorials here and here.

Before making its picks, the board considers where the candidates stand on the issues, leadership skills and ability to connect with citizens, bipartisanship, experience in and outside of government, and whether the candidate is representative of constituents he or she is hoping to represent.

Our goal is not to tell you how to vote, but rather to offer a well-reasoned opinion that you’ll find useful in making your own choices, whether you agree with our picks or not. And, as always, we welcome your views — especially if they offer a different viewpoint on a race — at opinion@startribune.com.

To learn more about the Editorial Board and its work, read our guide at strib.mn/2dVc1T2.

Scott Gillespie, editor, editorial pages