The Glynn County Democratic Committee (the “Committee”) intends to do its part to “Turn Georgia Blue” by electing Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. To do that at the local level, the Committee must ensure that qualified, capable, well-funded candidates run for election to local offices. At its meeting on July 5, 2016, the Committee appointed Bill Phillips and Linda Muir to work with Steve Spears, the Committee’s First Vice Chair responsible for identifying, recruiting and communicating with candidates, as the Ad Hoc Candidate Selection Subcommittee (the “Subcommittee”) to propose to the full Committee the practices and procedures that should be adopted to formalize a Candidate Selection Process. The Subcommittee recommends that the Committee adopt and approve the following practices and procedures as its Candidate Selection Process for post-2016 elections.
PROPOSED CANDIDATE SELECTION PROCESS
Purpose and Goal for Selecting Candidates
One of the key purposes of the Committee is to qualify and field a full slate of Democratic candidates capable of winning in every election in Glynn County. By giving voters a better choice at the ballot box, the Committee will build the profile and viability of the Democratic Party in Glynn County. Its goal, then, is to identify, recruit, select, support and endorse qualified, viable, competitive Democratic candidates to run in every Glynn County and City of Brunswick election, as well as in every election for representatives of Glynn County in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate. Since the Committee may not endorse candidates in a Primary election, the Committee will use its best efforts to encourage candidates in the selection process to choose to run for an office where they will be unopposed in the Democratic Primary. If a Democratic Primary election is contested, the Committee will not be able to support and endorse either Democratic candidate until a winner is chosen to run in the General Election.
List of Elective Offices in Glynn County
The Subcommittee will begin the Candidate Selection Process by obtaining and providing to every Committee member a listing of every elective office in Glynn County and in the City of Brunswick with a summary of:
- the duties of the office,
- the qualifications necessary to perform in the office
- the name and address of the current incumbent, if any
- the date of the next election
- the date of qualification to run for the office, and
- any eligibility requirements of a candidate to be qualified to run, such as residency, professional experience, background or training
The Glynn County Board of Elections should have such a listing, but, if not, the Subcommittee will prepare one.
Identifying Potential Candidates
To assist the Committee in identifying eligible, qualified and competitive potential candidates for each race, each Committee member will review the list of elective offices and identify, if possible, individuals within their respective districts who would be well-suited to run for each position. The Committee may consider other methods of posting the list of offices and requirements and identifying potential candidates and soliciting their interest, such as: announcements at its monthly meetings; notices posted on the Committee’s website; press releases issued to the local newspapers, postings on social media; presentations at civic meetings, as well as others. The public will know that the Committee seeks qualified candidates to consider running as Democrats. (Sometimes, people who have never considered running for office decide that they will run if they are invited.) The Committee will clarify through each mode it uses to communicate that the Committee will consider only those who go through the selection process and that the Committee will have no obligation to support or endorse candidates who run as Democrats but do not go through the selection process. After gathering its lists of potential candidates from all sources, the Committee will hold a special meeting to determine which Democrats it will recruit to consider running for the specific office for which they have been identified as the best candidate.
Recruiting Potential Candidates
The Subcommittee, as it may be designated and comprised from time to time, will interview each potential candidate for office so identified by the Committee. The purpose of the interview is to vet the potential candidate’s qualifications and to determine if he or she is, in fact, an eligible, qualified and competitive candidate worthy of the Committee’s endorsement. As a threshold matter, only individuals who affirm (1) that they support the DPG Platform, and (2) that they support and will participate with the Glynn County Democratic Committee will be considered for further vetting.
Selecting and Endorsing Candidates to Run for Office
Following its interviews, the Subcommittee will present to the Committee the list of potential candidates that it recommends to be selected as the endorsed Democratic candidates to run for office in Glynn County, and the Committee will consider and select the candidates to run for each office by the majority vote of the Committee. To reiterate, the Committee may not support and endorse candidates in primary elections unless they are running unopposed, although the Committee has no obligation to support unopposed candidates. The candidate who wins in a contested Democratic Primary or who runs unopposed in the Democratic Primary may seek the Committee’s support and endorsement in the general election.
The candidates selected to be supported and endorsed by the Committee will be contacted and asked to enter into a Support and Endorsement Agreement with the Committee to become
official Democratic candidates. The Agreement, which will be subject to negotiation between the candidate and the Committee, will set out what the Committee expects of each candidate and what each candidate can expect in return from the Committee. The following provisions represent those recommended to be included in the Agreement:
- The candidate confirms that he or she meets all of the eligibility requirements of the office, including the threshold criteria listed above, and that he or she wishes to be the Democratic candidate for the office
- The candidate agrees that he or she shall pay all qualification fees required, to be collected by the Committee, in connection with his or her candidacy
- The candidate agrees to attend training sessions that will be made available to him or her to learn how the Committee and the DPG expect him or her to run his or her campaign in terms of financial requirements and reporting, messaging, campaigning, fundraising, and communicating with voters
- The candidate agrees to participate in election events put on by the Committee, to be featured in campaign literature put out by the Committee, and to attend Committee public meetings, as appropriate, and to refrain from actions and behavior that would be counter-productive to other Democratic campaigns
- The Committee agrees to provide adequate training and to advise the candidate as to what should be included in the development and implementation of a campaign strategic plan and budget
- The Committee agrees, in keeping with all election laws, possibly to provide other kinds of support, such as
- Including the candidate in party literature
- Making a public announcement of its endorsement
- Providing in-kind support
- Providing volunteers to put out signs and knock on doors
- Providing access to VoteBuilder (if permitted)
- Providing space in the Election HQ
- Providing opportunities to meet the public, such as First Fridays, Meet & Greets, Town Halls and the Annual Dinner
- Conducting phone banking campaigns
- Including the Candidate in the Committee’s communications with voters and in the Committee’s candidate forums
- Other support as determined by the Committee
The Committee may choose to waive or modify any of these provisions in its sole discretion.
Evaluation and Modification of the Process
Within three (3) weeks of each November general election, the Committee will debrief on the election results and its efforts to elect Democratic candidates. It will evaluate what worked and what did not, its success in reaching its goals, and what could be done to improve the Process. Based upon the debriefing and evaluation, the Committee will identify how the Process should be modified to make it work better in practice going forward.
Candidate Selection Subcommittee
Each January following a federal or statewide general election in November, the First VP of the Committee, serving as the Chair of the Candidate Selection Subcommittee, will appoint two members of the Committee to serve with him or her to comprise the 3-person Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will serve for a period of two (2) years until the end of the next election cycle and will be charged with implementing the Process in concert with the Committee as described above.
Upon the Committee’s adoption and approval of this Candidate Selection Process, the Subcommittee will begin to implement it as provided above with a view toward selecting and electing Democrats in the 2018 elections.