Should Multnomah Democrats endorse Dem candidates running against other Dems?

Maybe you shouldn’t have an opinion yet, if you haven’t heard all the pros and cons of this issue.

Members of the Multnomah Democrats have not yet gotten together for a meaningful in-depth discussion and debate on this topic. That is why the Rules Committee, in revising the county Bylaws, decided to leave in place the 2016 Bylaws’ prohibition against endorsing candidates, either for partisan primaries or for non-partisan primaries and run-off elections.

In the meantime, several candidate-support opportunities are listed in the new Bylaws:

• MultDems office space can be used by any group of PCPs who support a particular candidate, to get together to work on the campaign of their candidate;

• Incumbents’ and new candidates’ support for MultDems Platform and Resolutions should be assessed, and literature created showing the candidates’ positions;

• Public candidate forums for competing Dems should be hosted, with questions focusing on our Platform and Resolutions.

Right after this November election would be a good time to have an in-house examination of the endorsement issue. Here are some of the questions that should be addressed in a panel debate:

1. Is the role of the Dem Party organization to welcome and assist ALL Dems wishing to run for office?

2. Or is the role to evaluate the Dem candidates and pick the “best” ones to support?

3. Should PCPs compete with each other in choosing whom to endorse, possibly endorsing someone that a large portion of the PCPs don’t support?

4. If one Dem is endorsed by MultDems but a competing Dem wins, will this have an adverse affect on relations between MultDems and the politician in office? Or is this just the way it is in politics?

5. Should the party organization take sides among competing Dems or leave it to all the voters in the county or district or city to decide the winners in a primary?

6. Is public education about candidates’ viewpoints more effective, less effective, or equally effective as compared to the effect of being on someone’s List of Endorsers?

7. Does the Dem Party gain important status and/or relevance by being an endorser of candidates?

8. Should MultDems be making it clear that we will give support only to candidates who support our Platform and Resolutions?

9. What about endorsing when there is only one Dem in a non-partisan race, for instance, in a City Council or County Commissioner or school board primary or run-off?

10. If endorsement in non-partisan elections is allowed, can Multnomah Democrats endorse a candidate who is not registered as a Democrat?

I don’t think it is obvious what position MultDems PCPs should take on the endorsement question. Do you agree that it’s more complicated than some people think? I look forward to attending an event, organized by either the Campaign/Candidate Committee or a group of PCPs, at which all viewpoints can be heard.

-Sally Joughin

PCP in HD 42

Chair, Rules Committee