Back in 1985, I wrote a paper for Larry Sabato's Campaigns and Elections class about the Boucher-Stafford race in 1984, and concluded that the Bristol paper's endorsement of Boucher, seeking re-election for the first time, was a big help to him. Back then, the newspaper was owned by the Worrells, before it was sold to Media General.
Now, the people who write the editorials are not the owners of the newspaper, at least nowhere around here (perhaps they still do it in Winchester), and so in this Washingtonian piece, Larry Sabato is quoted as saying that newspaper endorsements don't carry much clout.
I must confess that I was surprised that the Bristol paper endorsed Kaine instead of Kilgore, the local man, and then endorsed Bolling, noting Bolling's real but more limited SW Virginia roots. Something's wrong with that combination.