Endorsements: Grassroots America has not endorsed any candidate in any race for the March 2012 primary election cycle. We will not make any endorsements for local races until after the candidate forums/debates/interviews are held. Anyone who says differently is wrong. Period.
Endorsement criteria: The endorsement of a candidate is a serious matter. Our reputation is on the line when we endorse; therefore, we do a very thorough job of screening and evaluating candidates. We work very hard to separate fact from fiction.
A GAWTP endorsement must be earned every election cycle; it is not a perpetual gift automatically bestowed on any incumbent running for re-election. We do not make endorsements to please or appease any individual or group.
We do not endorse based on a narrow scope. For example, a state or federal level incumbent who votes pro-life and pro-Second Amendment, but is liberal on fiscal matters, illegal immigration, and expansion of government will be unable to take cover under state and national pro-life organizations and the NRA/TSRA/or Gun Owners of America endorsements. We look at the entire record.
While GAWTP networks with many statewide conservative public policy groups and political action committees and highly values and respects the work of those sister organizations, GAWTP remains independent and does not endorse a candidate simply because “everyone else is doing it.”
The GAWTP Board sets a very high standard for granting endorsements. The Board carefully considers evidence of good character and judgment, qualifications, temperament, background, incumbent voting records, and public record of past actions. In races selected for endorsement, a three-fourths majority vote (7 of 9 board members) in support of a candidate is required for endorsement.
Debate/forum/interview schedule: We will begin scheduling these important candidate-vetting events after the filing period ends on December 15 because that is when the field is set. Only then will we know the candidates who will actually compete in each race.
We will not hold a candidate forum until after Christmas when we hope serious voters will emerge from the sugar plum and jingle bell fog.
In the Sheriff’s race and the State Representative Race for District 6, we plan to hold two separate forums for each race – one at a regular Friday meeting and one in the evening. Forums for other races will usually be held during a regular Friday meeting. Every race is important – no matter how far down the ballot.
Debate/forum/interview format: Nobody – and I mean nobody – gets the questions before the event. Our moderators are selected from local media, and even they do not get the questions until I hand them the list 5 minutes before the event starts. Candidates, friends, and spouses of candidates: Don’t bother asking!
Questions from the audience will be submitted on cards and asked by the moderator. There will be no questions asked from the floor in order to maximize time and maintain order. Candidates and the moderator will be told not to respond to questions or comments shouted from the floor.
Order, good manners, and decorum will be enforced at all times.