The Minnesota Political Party Endorsement Process

The Minnesota Political Party Endorsement Process

I support the party endorsement process.

The endorsement process is useful in allowing grassroots’ influence in the party, allowing those most active to have an important say in who their candidate is. It is disconcerting how often in open primaries how the voters from the other party vote in the Republican primary in hopes of the weaker candidate winning the nomination. 

Nonetheless, a political party by the endorsement process cannot and should not be able to deny a citizen from running for office. And, with no party membership criteria, there is no way to prohibit an unendorsed candidate from filing to run as a member of that party.

The question then becomes whether the candidate who is not endorsed should have access to the party's resources, namely people, lists and money. That the party can legitimately deny. However, the State Party denying the unendorsed candidate access to such resources is easily circumvented by having independent PACs, which was what we had in Michigan. 

And, as I saw in Michigan, the House Caucus had substantially more data and analysis upon which to base an opinion about which candidate is more likely to win in the general election than the local grassroots folks. And, keeping a majority makes all the difference in getting legislation passed. So, it is not surprising that the House Caucus may from time to time go in a different direction than the grassroots. And, of course, they are also sometimes wrong.

So, mixed feelings.....

The reality is that a candidate who cannot get a party endorsement has a very steep uphill battle to win in the subsequent primary. The Johnson-Pawlenty primary in 2018 is a prime example of where a candidate with a clear campaign finance advantage still was not able to overcome the lack of the grassroots’ endorsement. Thus, in 2020, the National Republican Campaign Committee has no desire to back anyone who cannot first obtain the party endorsement. That endorsement is critical in the grassroots’ support for funding and volunteering for the candidate, as well as simply getting out to vote.


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