Do Endorsements Matter

Today, we’ll review the types of groups that endorse and throughout the week, strive to answer the question, “Do Endorsements Matter?”

It is the peak of the campaign season and organizations are issuing endorsements almost daily now. 

Many trade and political groups engage in a lengthy, tedious process of determining which candidates to support in the elections. Their hope is that their membership will follow their recommendations and/or that others will be influenced by their decision.

The Houston Police Officers Union and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Union are two significant endorsements. While many of their members may not live in the City of Houston, voters tend to take an interest in these recommendations from public servants. They have the impression that Police support means the candidate is strong on public safety. If fact, the endorsement usually means that the candidate will fight for the rights of Police Officers and Fire Fighters. As well, they have a fairly mixed track record on their choices.

Business trade groups endorse by the dozens. From the Greater Houston Builders Association to the Council on Engineers, the Greater Houston Restaurant Association and the Houston Association of REALTORS, they all screen candidates and select those they believe will do the best job to bolster business in Houston. The larger the endorsing organization, the stronger their endorsement will be. For example, the Houston Association of REALTORS has more than 20,000 members across the region and exceptionally large numbers in Houston. Their endorsement comes with financial support and volunteerism from their active members. 

Many of the business groups provide financial support with their endorsement and an offer to distribute signs and campaign material. 

Other groups that endorse are partisan organizations and cause-related groups, for example, the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Caucus, the “C” Club (stands for conservative), the Pachyderm Club and Asian-American Democrats. These groups tend to make their endorsements based on affinity with the group and in the case of partisan organizations, their alignment with party issues. 

The final endorsement to consider is the Houston Chronicle. They issue editorials on their Opinion page and those began recently, earlier than in years past. For a candidate, it’s a great day when you get the endorsement and a truly awful one if you don’t. The success of this endorsement is usually in how the candidate utilizes it – to gain additional endorsements, raise more money and/or spread it on campaign material to bolster their reputation.

Next, we’ll assess the endorsement patterns for this election cycle. 

This entry was originally posted at Nancy Sims’ blog, Ponderings.