TSDC has always been authorized to do endorsements from the very beginning of its existence. Attached is Article VIII of the TSDC Bylaws which covers the subject of endorsements. Although empowered to do endorsements, TSDC has never endorsed a single candidate or ballot proposition in its history. This is because members of local chapters have raised concerns that a conflict could arise between local chapters and the state caucus in endorsing a candidate for a particular race, particularly in primary elections. In other words, TSDC may decide to endorse Candidate A for governor whereas one or more local chapters decide to endorse Candidate B instead.
Numerous discussions have taken place over the years without achieving any consensus on how best the TSDC should proceed. Consequently, the TSDC Executive Board decided in 2009 that it would best for TSDC not to do any endorsements and defer to the local chapters instead. The Board did allow for TSDC to contribute to candidates during an election cycle but without any required endorsement. Accordingly, the Board voted to delete Article VIII from the Bylaws and the Endorsement Committee as a standing committee. When this matter was presented to the Caucus membership for ratification at the 2010 State Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi, a majority of those present and voting at the Caucus meeting disapproved of the Executive Board’s actions in this regard. The majority believed it was important for TSDC to do endorsements and so the original Article VIII remains as part of our bylaws as does the Endorsement Committee.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE ENDORSEMENT PROCESS
To streamline the TSDC endorsement process, I am proposing the following changes to Article VIII of our Bylaws:
1. The Executive Board does the endorsements rather than the TSDC "members". We don't have an accurate listing of all TSDC members yet and even if we did, it would be a cumbersome process to get all the TSDC members to vote on endorsements. Since the Executive Board is representative of all the chapters in Texas, it seems to me to be the appropriate body to do the endorsements once the Endorsement Committee makes its recommendations.
2. Endorsements of candidates and issues would be in any election where the electorate votes OR at any convention where delegates vote (such as is the case with the State Party Chair, DNC members, SDEC members, etc.)
3. TSDC may endorse in both partisan and nonpartisan races (e.g. city council elections where we have an LGBT candidate).
4. Endorsements shall not be made in any contested Democratic Primary or Primary Runoff race to avoid conflicts with local chapters who may endorse different candidates in a given race. In other words, with the exception of certain uncontested Democrats in a primary race, TSDC will only endorse candidates in a general election cycle OR TSDC shall not make any endorsements at all in any Democratic Primary or Primary Runoff Election (you choose).
5. The scope of endorsements for a given election cycle (e.g., statewide candidates only, state house and senate races, mayor and city council races) would be at the discretion of the Executive Board (Section 3 of Article VIII). The race or races on the ballot would be recommended by the Endorsement Committee and submitted to the Executive Board for approval. In other words, we would not create a “hard and fast” rule that TSDC will endorse statewide candidates only. This would be at the discretion of the Executive Board. For example, in the past two general election cycles the Executive Board voted to make campaign contributions to certain targeted state house and senate candidates instead of statewide candidates because we felt our limited funds would have more impact in those more competitive legislative races than in a statewide race or races.
6. No candidate or ballot proposition can receive TSDC financial support unless that candidate or ballot proposition has first been endorsed by TSDC.
The second attachment is how Article VIII of our Bylaws would read if the above 6 proposed changes are approved.
If you have any questions or want clarification on the 6 items above, please feel free to e-mail either Dan Graney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rich Bailey@email@example.com
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