How Does the WRA Decide Which Candidates to Support?

 Joe Murray  |    October 08, 2018
How Does WRA Decide Which Candidates to Support

In October of every election year, each WRA member receives the WRA Voter Guide, a comprehensive list of all state and federal candidates endorsed by the WRA and the National Association of REALTORS¬ģ (NAR). Most, but not all, of the candidates listed in the voter guide are incumbents running for reelection. In every election cycle, there are open seats due to retirements or incumbents running for another office.

The WRA decision-making process regarding which candidates to support varies depending on their status as an incumbent or a first-time candidate. In addition, both political parties covet and place enormous money into a certain number of highly competitive target seats. So the WRA, like other politically active organizations, vets candidates by analyzing the following three factors in every election.

Endorsement decisions

  1. Incumbents: The decision on which incumbents to support is fairly straightforward. Incumbents have a record on real estate-related issues, and the longer the incumbent has held office, the longer his or her voting record is. The WRA compiles a voting record on all legislative incumbents every two years prior to the November elections. The WRA legislative staff is responsible for analyzing the voting record for state legislators, and NAR is responsible for analyzing voting records on members of the U.S. House and Senate. Once the voting record is compiled and recorded, the state RPAC trustees and the NAR RPAC trustees take a formal position on which candidates to support.
  2. Open seats: In the 2018 election cycle, there are 19 open state legislative seats and one open congressional district in Wisconsin. With certain incumbents either retiring or running for higher office, open seats require WRA members and staff to identify all the candidates running in these districts and conduct candidate interviews to determine which candidates are most supportive of the real estate industry and property owners.
    The interview process is simple but critically important to the WRA‚Äôs future legislative success. REALTOR¬ģ members and staff from all 19 legislative districts and one congressional district sit down with the candidates running in each district and discuss the candidates‚Äô opinions on questions related to real estate. Once the interviews are complete, the local board within the respective legislative district decides which candidate to support and sends its recommendation to the state RPAC trustees for final approval. Once approved, these endorsed candidates receive RPAC and Direct Giver financial support, along with get-out-the-vote efforts and other efforts to inform members of which candidates the WRA supports and why.
  3. Targeted districts: In every election cycle, certain legislative districts will be more politically competitive than others. Democrats and Republicans identify these districts, and both sides put significant human and financial resources into these targeted seats. Out of a total of 99 state Assembly seats on the ballot this year, approximately 15 will fall into the competitive category. In the state Senate, 17 seats are on the ballot, and five could be truly competitive. In the most competitive districts, the WRA will generally raise additional funds from Direct Giver contributors and provide greater financial support for candidates in tough, expensive elections.

Get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts

After the WRA identifies which candidates to support, it’s time to educate members on the endorsed candidates and encourage members to get out and vote for them. The WRA compiles a list of all candidates and produces the official WRA Voter Guide, which is mailed to 16,400 members. You have likely already received the voter guide in your mailbox.

The voter guide is a convenient, one-stop resource of WRA-supported candidates on the November ballot. Members are encouraged to support these candidates for state and federal office. 

These candidates were selected to receive REALTOR¬ģ support based on real estate-related issues. The WRA‚Äôs recommendation is based on business and economic issues critical to homeowners, property owners and REALTORS¬ģ in Wisconsin. Every REALTOR¬ģ is encouraged to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6 and support these candidates who support our issues and our industry. Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same! Remember, your personal efforts and vote will make a substantial difference in the business climate for many years to come. Please vote on November 6.

Joe Murray is Director of Political and Governmental Affairs for the WRA.

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