Sunday, February 16, 2014

Candidate Recruitment

Recruitment is an activity that parties whether its the Democratic or Republican Party can engage in even if the party is weak on other dimensions of organizational strength. In the case of the Georgia Democratic Party, it must contest races in order to stand any chance of winning office, candidate recruitment is one of the first task for the Georgia Democratic Party. It must be able to recruit candidates, even if the party lacks a grassroots base or significant caucus resources. 

Having said that, here we are in a state that's trending from red to pink and eventually purple, Democrats are still having difficulty locating, recruiting, targeting candidates for legislative.....and even so far statewide contests. I'll talk about statewide contest later.

With qualifying looming early next month, the success of candidate recruitment in the legislature will depend on the House Democratic & Senate Democratic caucus willingness to accept democrats who are in the mold of a, say John Barrow, a conservative, but independent-minded democrat who doesn't toe the party line on every substantive issue that comes before them. Especially in the House where minority leader Stacey Abrams, a unabashed liberal who I say is wary of any Democrat hailing below I-20 or below Macon running as Bluedog Moderate or Conservative Democrat. And that maybe because of rash party switchers that has occurred over the past 4,6,8 yrs (Dems from largely rural areas switching to GOP). But those days (Party Switching) are over, I believe.

Now let me offer Dem's some advice:

Make a list of likely prospects, and analyze for strengths and weaknesses & then select a final few to approach. If possible, get to know prospective candidates personally before ever mentioning their running for office. Try to determine their level of integrity, energy, etc.  

Meet face to face with the potential candidate to discuss the potential of running for office. If possible, get an elected democrat to help with the approach. The face to face meeting is an important step, and help you find out what they are interested in, what time commitments they can make, and what issues they are addressing in their lives that might impact their ability to run. Help find solutions to potential barriers they may put up against running: (if parents, they may need day care; if low income, they will need financial support; if working, they may be very busy and not able to commit a lot of time to run). 

Talk about issues; make sure there is a philosophical agreement between the party and candidate. It doesn't have to be 100%. If the candidate agrees with 65-70% with the philosophy of the Party of Jefferson (Thomas) & Jackson (Andrew), then that should be the green light. An ideal candidate should have their own network of support outside the Democratic Party. Certainly y'all can offer solid support, but the candidate must bring SOME resources to the table. Be clear with expectations of time and money being  spent, among other things.

And one more thing and I've said this before, the best candidate are the ones who's background and life story fit into the district he or she is running in! REMEMBER THAT!!

With qualifying weeks away, there maybe too little time to go through each of these, but if I were in charge of recruiting, this is the process I would use when seeking potential candidates for House or Senate Districts.

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