Friday, April 4, 2008

Tell Us, What's a Chairperson to do?

In light of differing opinions regarding the proper role on contests within the party:

Do you think local Democratic Officers should publicly show preference to a particular candidate seeking Democratic nomination?
Makes no difference
Free polls from


kestrel9000 said...

A thought:
If you reframe the question from "Do you think they SHOULD" to, "Is is ACCEPTABLE" in your mind, you get accurate results by adding the totals for the "Yes" and "Makes no difference" options.
Another poll question (maybe I'll do this one):
"Do party officers forfeit their right to publicly support a candidate for their party's nomination upon becoming an officer"?
My answer would be, "Not only no, but HELL no."

JGFitzgerald said...

No, yes, doesn't matter. Clashing council candidates? The chair should maintain neutrality or surrender the gavel since he or she may have to mediate or at least run the caucus. Sixth district? A neutral chair can't become a delegate to state or district conventions, which shorts the locality, assuming the chair is one of their more competent or best known members (and I'm not saying that's always the case). National? Not likely to be affected by local endorsements.

Josh said...

JG, in local caucuses they can run candidates can run as someone pledged to no particular candidate until the time of the district convention. (See below).

A neutral chair is ABSOLUTELY necessary for fair local caucuses; if a locality chair wishes to be a delegate for a particular candidate (or even supports a particular candidate), they should turn over the administration (including the announcement of the time/place) of the local caucus to persons on the committee who choose to personally remain neutral as to the congressional nomination. They also shouldn't be able to use the communications apparatus of the local committee in support of or opposition to a local or congressional candidate.

I will agree that national and even statewide nomination races are a different kettle of fish as to whether or not local chairs should be able to support candidates before they're "officially" nominated.

Section 15.3 Declaration of Candidate Preference
The committee calling a convention or caucus may determine whether candidates for delegate and alternate are
required to make known their preference with respect to candidates for nomination by the Party. If disclosure of candidate
preference is required, the delegate candidates may alternatively declare themselves to be uncommitted. If a delegate
candidate fails to indicate preference for all offices to be nominated on a filing form, the committee shall list such persons as
“uncommitted” rather than declaring the filing as invalid. For state conventions, the Central Committee may determine
whether delegates to a state convention will be bound to vote in accordance with their announced candidate preference on
one or more ballots. Candidate preferences or uncommitted status shall be indicated for each delegate candidate on the
written ballots used in the convention or caucus.

Josh said...

Correction, that first paragraph SHOULD read:
"JG, in local caucuses, candidates for district caucus reps can run as someone pledged to no particular CONGRESSIONAL candidate until the time of the district convention. They DO have to be pledged to a presidential candidate, though. See below."

I was on the phone while typing it!

Anonymous said...

Frame it any way you want kestrel, but an endorsement is meant to influence others. Otherwise why bother? Committee officials have a very real responsibility to protect the process of candidate selection, not to subvert or bypass people making up their own mind after looking at the choices. I applaud the effort put into the excellent forum done for just that purpose by the Rockingham/Harrisonburg Democrats.
To my knowlege, while I am certain many of the leaders of those two local party groups knew much more about the candidates than the general public and likely had a favorite, their preference was notably absent in their fair and impartial treatment of both the people and the event.
People could go home having heard both sides and then make their own decision.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what Josh has said about neutrality in the conduct of the caucus, except for what was said about the announcement of the time and place for the caucus which is in itself a neutral act. In the running of the caucus itself, that's the reason why rules provide for the chair to nominate a temporary chair in his/her place.

But running as uncommitted is a surefire way not to get elected as a delegate when there is a contested race, as the campaigns ought to ensure that they have enough people to elect "their" delegates, leaving an uncommitted chair out in the cold.

So I think a chair can endorse, but should turn over the gavel for the caucus itself in that event.

Josh said...

I'm referring to primary-styled caucuses, which have the issue that some chairs don't let possible delegate candidates *KNOW* that they can run without a candidate preference, leaving those who may want to run as uncommitted not know that they can; I know of several in the 6th who've done this. It's been so damn long since anyone's even WANTED to run that many rank and file Democrats might not know this.

If the chairs don't know this, they should probably sit down and read the Party Plan.

Anonymous said...

One particular chair in the Valley put "*SPAM*" in the subject header of her message. That's concerning to a friend of mine who lives in her area, but is afraid to make a bunch of noise because he's got enough trouble on his hands right now.

Anonymous said...

Any chair in the 6th who isn't aware that candidates for delegate can run as being "uncommitted" or "no candidate" (only for the House race, not president) isn't paying attention. Both DPVA and the 6th Dist. Committee have bombarded chairs with instructions and even held a mock caucus so that it would be clear.