How Does the WRA Decide Which Candidates to Support?

 Joe Murray, WRA director of political and governmental affairs  |    September 06, 2022

In October of every election year, WRA members receive the official WRA Voter Guide, a comprehensive list of all state and federal candidates endorsed by the WRA and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Most, but not all, of these candidates 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. So the WRA, like other politically active organizations, vets candidates by analyzing the following three factors.

1. Incumbents: The decision on which incumbents to support is fairly straightforward. Incumbents have a voting record on our issues, and the longer the incumbent has held office, the longer the incumbent’s voting record. Every two years after the legislative session ends but prior to the November elections, the WRA compiles a voting record on all legislative incumbents. 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, both the state and national REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) trustees take a formal position on which candidates to support.

2. Open seats: In the 2022 election cycle, there are 30 open state legislative seats and one open congressional district in Wisconsin. With certain incumbents either retiring or running for higher office, open seats require 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 candidate interview process is simple but critically important to the WRA’s future legislative success. REALTOR® members and staff from all 30 open legislative districts sit down with the candidates running in each district and discuss the candidates’ opinions on policy issues related to real estate. Once the interviews are complete, the interviewing committee of REALTOR® members decides which candidates to support and sends its recommendation to the state RPAC trustees for review and 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 WRA members which candidates deserve our endorsement.

3. Statewide elections: In elections for statewide office, our process is similar to open seats in the state legislature. The WRA’s strategic advocacy group (SAG) interviews candidates for governor and attorney general, and the SAG makes a recommendation to the WRA board of directors. The WRA board makes the final decision on all statewide elections. The SAG is comprised of current and past leaders of the WRA and has a deep and comprehensive understanding of the WRA’s issues. Once the WRA board reaches a decision on which candidates to support, the WRA staff communicates with the membership on those decisions.

“Get out the vote” (GOTV) efforts

After the WRA identifies which candidates to support, the process moves to educating, informing and mobilizing members to get out and vote for those candidates. The WRA assembles a list of all candidates and produces the official WRA Voter Guide, which is mailed to all 18,000 members.

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

Endorsed candidates are selected to receive REALTOR® support based on real estate-related issues. The WRA’s recommendation is based on business and economic issues critical to homeowners, property owners and REALTORS® in Wisconsin. Every REALTOR® is encouraged to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8 and support these candidates who support our issues and our industry. Remember, your personal efforts and your vote will make a substantial difference in the business climate for many years to come. Please vote on November 8.

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