SC members should NOT publicly endorse chair candidates

(An interesting take.  But this is how it has always been done, in every election, and pretty much in every state.  The goal obviously is to get a clear winner going into  the election, and show momentum. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

After watching the growing tally of State Committee Members who have publicly endorsed people running for Chairman, I have decided that this practice should be discouraged because it is bad for the integrity and outcome of the process.

We aren’t even close to the meeting of the SC where the vote will take place. But now, at least 30 votes are off the table. What happens when the deciding endorsement is publicly listed on someone’s website? Does that mean we just call the whole damned vote off?  What would that meeting look like if everyone knew that someone “already won?” Is that what we want?

I would like to think that the State Committee would take its job more seriously. I would like to think that at the meeting to elect a new Chairman that there would be discussion among the members and that all candidates would have a chance. Take my friend David D’Arcangelo, who is running for chair. He has a detailed proposal on what he will do as chair. But what if he doesn’t get to make his pitch? What if a SC member, who is friends with Ms. Hughes, agreed to give him her vote before he even knew David was running or saw his proposal? Does that make sense? Of course not. That SC member should only vote for Ms. Hughes in light of all the candidates and their proposals. Anything else feels like an exercise in power and behind-the-scenes dealmaking.

You might say, “Come on, Ed – that’s politics.”  And it is. But there is, at the very minimum, a need to provide the appearance that each SC member is thoughtfully evaluating all of the candidates and their plans. I would also like to think that just maybe, an SC member who had been certain he would vote for one candidate, would, upon hearing the pitch of another at the official meeting, decide to change his mind. But, if he had already “committed” to vote for someone publicly, would he change his mind?

I do not support any official action to bar SC members from endorsing people for the Chairmanship. What I would like is for the members to alter their behavior in this matter. If they want to write a non-binding letter of reference or post some positive thoughts on a candidate’s website, fine. But they should make it crystal clear that writing something positive is not a binding commitment to vote for that person. I know that SC members will say that their endorsement was not a binding commitment. Do you really think that’s how it looks? Did the 20-8 story on RMG make it look that way? Think again.

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  1. So if I were Joe Smith and was running and racked up some endorsements, I might make this statement on my website:

    “I am honored that some state committee members have publicly said they believe I am qualified for this position and that they agree with my agenda. However, I fully expect each member to evaluate all candidates at the meeting where the election will take place, and I consider no member bound to vote for me because of their statements of support. We all want the best person to lead this party and I support a deliberative process for finding that leader.”

    Of course, if some of these endorsements really were ironclad quid-pro-quo arrangements, then I guess you can’t really do that, eh? 😉

  2. …your preferred candidate(s) are spamming RMG & facebook to the annoyance of everyone, and your upset that it’s not working?

    Has it occurred to you that the ONLY electorate is the SC members, and perhaps, just maybe, Mr. Green (and Ms. Hughs) are sharing their respective vision for the future of the MassGOP not with random members of the Greater Boston Young Republicans Facebook group, but the actual members of the State Committee!  Because it appears to be working!  they’ve convinced a U.S. Senator and 30+ members of the SC to cast their lot with their campaigns.

    Here’s a question for you.  Why are David and Dean wasting their time on websites, Facebook messages, and RMG posts?  Why aren’t they just sending that information to the SC members and actually trying to win votes?

    Another question for you.  How can I trust someone to to able to convince the average Massachusetts voter to change their voting habit, and vote Republican when they, in three weeks, haven’t been able to convince a single member of the 80 member State Committee to publicly say “I’m voting for Dean/David?”

    Basically, your post here boils down to “My Candidate is not only losing, but losing in a public way, and I’d rather delude myself for another month that he/they might actually get a vote.”

  3. Ed,

    I believe that a candidate for Chair needs to be nominated at the meeting held for election of the Chair by a Regular State Committee member.  Therefore, I would have to presume that there is at least one member willing to stand and nominate Dean and/or Dave (I feel comfortable with this presumption as I do not believe that they would be running for Chair if they could not even receive a nomination)  so why isn’t that person willing to publicly associate their name with the Dean/David candidacy?  

  4. I refuse to publicly endorse any candidate for chair. But privately I support Rick Green.

  5. Ed,

    You already admitted that this is politics. This is how partisan people work, they tend to choose and support a person publicly in hopes to sway the vote. It’s not going to change, and instead of complaining about it use it to your advantage.

    Lets just be honest, the two main candidates in this race are Hughes and Green. Hughes is being backed mainly by SC members called “the Establishment” and Green is being backed by a diverse group of SC members. Then we have David/Dean who are the paper candidates.

    I haven’t met David, but I have met Dean, and he is a great guy. But the problem is they jumped in the race too late, they didn’t look for support prior to entering, and their ticket thing isn’t a good idea. First, they are taking votes away from each other. Second, the by-laws make it clear only one of them can get paid so that means is one does win they would have to change the by-laws which is unlikely. Lastly, they have no experience with the state committee (Hughes was  a staffer and green is a member of the SC).

    So I have to agree with Paul. This seems more of a complaint that dean/david aren’t getting support, rather than SC publicly endorsing candidates.

  6. Why not have each candidate post a 5 minute video on Red Mass group outlining what they want to accomplish as Chair.  

    Then we can talk to our SC people, not that it would do any good.

    Just think there has to be an easier way

  7. Endorsements are a factor in demonstrating strength in an election but endorsements mean nothing without turnout. And the candidate that turns out his / her vote that night shows the real strength and commitment within the State Committee – website endorsements not withstanding.

  8. The one big job the SC has is to elect the chairman. I can’t see anyone, except for ill health, missing this meeting.

    If, by turnout, you mean to get people to not just endorse, but vote – that turns on what “endorsement” means, which is why I wrote this post.

    One more thing…

    I was at the meeting where Chairman Maginn was elected, along with many others. Someone on the inside might have told me the week before that Maginn had the votes to win and that the meeting was simply a formality.  I would not have been shocked by that.

    However people at the meeting sure didn’t feel that way. I had a drink with Mr. McNamara’s supporters after the vote, and believe me, they did not think the outcome had been decided before the meeting. And that matters. Especially because a huge part of the activists constantly gripe about “the establishment” and what happens behind closed doors. That’s why I brought up this issue. We must deprive the losers the excuse that the fix was in.

  9. a fifth+ of the SC was absent, so yes, turnout matters.

    If you have 44 supporters to the other guys 36, and only 35 of your supporters show up because “you’re a lock” guess what?  You lose!

    Trust me, you can go from 63-37 to 48-52 (those numbers picked totally at random) pretty damn quick, especially in low-volume voter elections!

  10. Mr. Ferro –

    We have never met, but boy, have you taken a dim view of my post.

    First, David and Dean are not “my candidates.” I know them and think they are great Republicans. I gave them as an example of what will happen to people who haven’t locked up endorsements ahead of time and whose appearance at the election meeting will seem pointless. You might say, “Well, if they had a chance, someone might have endorsed them by this time.” But how do you know that a dozen state committee members might vote for them, but simply won’t say so publicly? You do not know that. (Yes, that seems extraordinarily unlikely.)

    And I don’t really get why anyone would attack these guys. They have never harmed anyone. Sure – it is absolutely fair game to ask Dean why his playbook ideas seemed to do nothing for his senate race. It is also fair to ask why his patron, Ms. Polito – has endorsed someone else.  But there is a respectful way to ask all that.

    Lastly, your reaction seems to say that you don’t see any merit in my post that there is an “appearance” problem in the deliberation of this choice. You have instead just assumed – wrongly – that I am endorsing Dean and David and have chalked up my reaction to sour grapes. Nope – I am not that small-minded a guy. You’d think my dozens of posts on this site would have made that clear over the past couple of years.

    I guess not.  

  11. As for your point of view that only the SC matters, how wrong you are!  

    I seem to remember going to the polls and enthusiastically voting for my state committeman Steve Aylward and state committeewoman Elizabeth Mahoney. I was told this was a form of representative government and that I have the right to contact them and make my thoughts known. Perhaps I will write them, and their opinions might be swayed just slightly by my words. But I guess in your mind, this isn’t representative government and if a candidate for chair decides to appeal to all the Republicans that the SC represents, that it is a waste of time. Nonsense!

    Also, even if all that were not true, the election of chair is a defining moment for the party. It is a chance for the candidates to introduce themselves and their agenda to the entire party and for us to have productive discussions about what it means to be Republican. I wholeheartedly support anything that gets more people talking about the race and ideas for the future. We will not have many opportunities where so many will be thinking about these things.

  12. I am not fighting to get support for any candidate, but for the process to have integrity for all candidates. As I am not involved in their campaign – though I have discussed some issues with them – I do not know what support, if any, D&D have on the SC. Why not ask them? (I wish they would participate here rather than posting and running!)

    Again – if someone gets a majority of endorsements before the meeting, it will be undesirable and the all the activists who plan on traveling to that meeting will either not come or ridicule the process at the meeting as pointless. Even if a debate on the issues broke out, no one would take it seriously. That’s not good.

    I realize there have been endorsements before, but I doubt we have ever had dozens in writing and in public view, threatening to become a majority before any candidate is even nominated. That would be unprecedented, and, in my view, undesirable.

  13. So you do need not only a nomination but a second. A few years ago a guy walked in and asked if someone could nominate him and he got a few pitty votes.

    If David/Dean really want to be serious candidates, then they need to campaign to SC members. If not then they will not be taken seriously. If they don’t get a second or even someone to nominate them, not to mention less than 5 votes, it hurts their political stock. They seem like nice guys, I would hate for them to loss political sway because of a paper campaign for chair.

  14. Once, a candidate walked in to be elected chair, but had not read the rules and was surprised that an acutal SC member had to nominate and second – he had brought his own people with him becasue his platform was how he was going to teach the SC a lesson, etc.

    A kind hearted Worcester SC member nominated him (briefly) and got him a second from a friend of hers so he could at least speak.

    But when the votes were cast, he received zero.  The lady who nominated him voted for somebody else.

  15. I have already asked them a number of questions even imploring them to partake in debate here rather than posting and running so hopefully they will do so.

    I am actually okay with endorsements and like the idea of a more transparent election for the Chair.  Heck, I would even argue for a bylaw change to have the vote for Chair be roll call instead of secret ballot so everyone knows who voted for whom.  I think this is important as the SC members are elected by us to represent us and we should know for whom they vote in the Chair’s election.

    Thanks again and Happy New Year

  16. I am almost always for transparency, but I think the secret ballot has value in this case. SC members have told me that its nice that when the election is over, that everyone can – in theory – get behind the new chairman and no one has to be sure who supported the other person.

    And what do we get from knowing how they voted? Would we take it out on them for their next SC election if we disagreed? Maybe.

    Of course, if people are going to come out and endorse ahead of time, that sort of defeats the point of the secret ballot, eh?

    So, oddly enough, the first SC member who explained to me the value of the secret ballot has come out and publicly endorsed someone. Now that makes no sense, eh? :-)

    p.s. And I agree it is problematic that D&D don’t debate here. Yes, this isn’t exactly the ideal environment to have a good discussion. But if you’re going to run a longshot campaign, you can’t be too choosy, and this place is probably the only logical place to make a stand.  

  17. So members could endorse Green but then vote for someone else who mysteriously wins? Seems to me if someone endorses and wants to make their choice public, they should have to count their vote that way and only collect secret ballots from members that want to be secret about it.

  18. – You should meet David sometime. He’s not only a great Republican, he has actually won some elections.

    – I am not backing these two guys, per se, but I like that they have a lot of details in their plans. We need a lot of that.

    – I agree that both of them running is weird. It isn’t that it can’t work – I just don’t see the case for that.

    – That being said, while I have met Dean and think he is a great guy, the more I hear about his awful senate campaign, the more I realize that he’s not going to be a leader anyone is going to follow. I hope he finds lots of ways to contribute to the party. I hate saying that, but he has put himself out there as a leadership candidate.

    – Rick Green has absolutely no agenda posted online. He sounds like a great guy and maybe he will be a great chairman. I would love to know what he wants to do before my representatives vote for him.

    – And yes, this is all politics. But we have to have some guidelines to make the process something people provides better outcomes, and not worse ones.

    – Lastly, the “establishment” talk is destructive. We should stop dividing the party like that. It makes a weak party weaker.  

  19. Request each candidate post a 5 min video.

    That’s how RMG (should) role.

  20. This thread has fallen below the radar.

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