The Problem with Endorsements

One of the things that we often see during election cycles are candidates bragging about endorsements. These tend to be a good indication of where a candidate stands on various issues, based on the organization or person offering the endorsement.

I’d like to share my experience with a recent endorsement experience, and explain why sometimes an endorsement is NOT a good thing.

As is typical, once a candidate is accepted by the Secretary of State, several organizations, and special interest groups reach out, and ask the candidate to fill out a candidate survey.  The surveys are confidential, and vary in length from 10 short questions via an online questionnaire, to dozens of essay questions in the form of a mailed packet.

Some organizations politely ask candidates to complete the survey. Some threaten candidates with negative outcomes if they DON’T fill out the survey.

I filled out a survey honestly in the past month from a certain special interest group. The group then reached out and requested an in-person interview. Prior to the interview, they sent me a PDF to prepare for the issues that most interest their members.

The PDF had several pages of issues and their take on the issues. The document then a few questions after each issue that they planned to ask me.

And then, the PDF had an answer key.

The organization was clear that they only wanted me to repeat their answers back to them.  They were looking to endorse a puppet.

For some issues, I agreed with their take, generally. For others, I didn’t, based on other information I had learned. I asked about other data that I was aware of, and while they acknowledged it was correct, they disagreed with my suggestion for realistic solutions that hinted at a compromised approach.

I’m not a puppet.

And I will be PROUD to not receive the endorsement of some special interest groups.

The most important endorsement is YOURS.

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