(An interesting take. But this is how it has always been done, in every election, and pretty much in every state. The goal obviously is to get a clear winner going into the election, and show momentum. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
After watching the growing tally of State Committee Members who have publicly endorsed people running for Chairman, I have decided that this practice should be discouraged because it is bad for the integrity and outcome of the process.
We aren't even close to the meeting of the SC where the vote will take place. But now, at least 30 votes are off the table. What happens when the deciding endorsement is publicly listed on someone's website? Does that mean we just call the whole damned vote off? What would that meeting look like if everyone knew that someone "already won?" Is that what we want?
I would like to think that the State Committee would take its job more seriously. I would like to think that at the meeting to elect a new Chairman that there would be discussion among the members and that all candidates would have a chance. Take my friend David D'Arcangelo, who is running for chair. He has a detailed proposal on what he will do as chair. But what if he doesn't get to make his pitch? What if a SC member, who is friends with Ms. Hughes, agreed to give him her vote before he even knew David was running or saw his proposal? Does that make sense? Of course not. That SC member should only vote for Ms. Hughes in light of all the candidates and their proposals. Anything else feels like an exercise in power and behind-the-scenes dealmaking.
You might say, "Come on, Ed - that's politics." And it is. But there is, at the very minimum, a need to provide the appearance that each SC member is thoughtfully evaluating all of the candidates and their plans. I would also like to think that just maybe, an SC member who had been certain he would vote for one candidate, would, upon hearing the pitch of another at the official meeting, decide to change his mind. But, if he had already "committed" to vote for someone publicly, would he change his mind?
I do not support any official action to bar SC members from endorsing people for the Chairmanship. What I would like is for the members to alter their behavior in this matter. If they want to write a non-binding letter of reference or post some positive thoughts on a candidate's website, fine. But they should make it crystal clear that writing something positive is not a binding commitment to vote for that person. I know that SC members will say that their endorsement was not a binding commitment. Do you really think that's how it looks? Did the 20-8 story on RMG make it look that way? Think again.