PHOENIX — The Arizona Republic, which drew global attention in 2016 for endorsing a Democrat for president for the first time in its history, will stop endorsing candidates for public office, newspaper leaders wrote Wednesday.

Executive Editor Greg Burton and Editorial Page Editor Phil Boas explained in a column that research by the Phoenix-based newspaper, Arizona's largest, showed readers find endorsements alienating and "blur the way they view our news stories."

The editors wrote that many readers don't see the sharp line that news organizations draw between their neutral news stories and their opinion content.

"More and more of today's readers see candidate endorsements as an intrusion on the electoral process," Burton and Boas wrote.

With a hyper-partisan political environment and an increasing number of voters getting their news online, the Republic and other newspapers are rethinking the unsigned editorials that represent the views of the newspaper's opinion editors.

The Republic's 2016 endorsement of Hillary Clinton garnered global attention because it was the first time the paper recommended a Democrat in its 126-year history. Burton and Boas wrote that they stand by that decision and their decision to forego an endorsement in 2020 does not represent a retreat from their position four years ago.

The newspaper will continue to weigh in on big questions of public policy and will still make endorsements for ballot measures.

"We will inform with perspective and opinion about the major races as they unfold and will raise red flags when we see candidates violating traditional norms," they wrote.