GOP Endorsement Procedures in Central Elections

The Republican Party released the following statement concerning its accomplishments and its endorsement policies for the upcoming municipal election in the City of Central:

Accomplishments. Since taking office in March 2012, the newly-elected PEC has worked hard to make the Republican Party an effective force for conservative change in East Baton Rouge.”  The following are listed as some of its major activities:

Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon — The party hosts the monthly Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon, which puts the media spotlight on conservative Republican leaders. Speakers have included U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Congressman Bill Cassidy, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, Clerk of Court Doug Welborn, Coroner Dr. Beau Clark, State GOP chairman Roger Villere, senatorial candidate Col. Rob Maness, House Fiscal Hawks chairman Rep. Brett Geymann, senatorial candidate Rep. Paul Hollis, and many others. These meetings provide a forum for conservative ideas, a means for party activists to get together on a regular basis, and positive media attention for the party.

Ronald Reagan Man of the Year Banquet — This event honored Sen. David Vitter for his service to our state and nation.

Stop the Roll Forward — The Republican Party of EBR fought the roll-forward of property taxes by local governmental bodies and succeeded in blocking more than $6 million in higher property taxes.

Fighting the CATS Tax — The party led efforts to oppose the $180 million CATS property tax and has been supporting the court challenge to the tax.

Outstanding Republican Turnout and Participation — The Republican Party of EBR worked hard to get voters to the polls in the 2012 Presidential election. As a result, the Republican turnout in East Baton Rouge Parish was the highest in any of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

Largest Republican Party — The Republican Party of EBR is now the largest parish Republican Party in the state, based on the number of Republicans who actually vote.

Endorsements — Endorsements by the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish have proven to be very effective in getting Republicans elected since 2012. The local party was one of the first to endorse Scott Angelle in his successful bid for Louisiana Public Service Commission. The party’s endorsement of Barry Ivey for State Representative was also considered pivotal. Finally, the endorsement of Judge Jeff Hughes for the Louisiana Supreme Court was of major importance. Judge Hughes’ election made him the first Republican ever elected to the State Supreme Court from the Baton Rouge area and gave Republicans a 4-3 majority on the Louisiana Supreme Court for the first time in history.

Endorsement Policies. For more than 40 years, the East Baton Rouge Republican Parish Executive Committee has endorsed Republican candidates for public office. The endorsement process is exhaustive and designed to insure that the Republican Party supports the best possible candidates. The votes are always conducted by secret ballot, in order to make sure that no member of the PEC can be intimidated or punished because of his or her vote. In order to be endorsed, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast by the committee members present and voting. Before the endorsement meeting, each candidate who chooses to seek the party’s endorsement must fill out an extensive questionnaire and then appear before the committee and answer questions. Candidates who are endorsed generally use the Republican endorsement in their literature and media advertising.

Central Municipal Elections. Four years ago, in 2010, the previous East Baton Rouge Republican Parish Executive Committee made endorsements in Central Municipal elections. That committee endorsed both Mac Watts and Jr. Shelton for Mayor; Wade Welborn was endorsed over incumbent Doug Browning for Police Chief; and Louis DeJohn, Charles Lee Hinton, Joan Lansing, Tony LoBue, Wayne Messina, Aaron Moak, and Lucky Ross were endorsed for City Council. In 2011, the previous EBR PEC held an endorsement meeting and endorsed Bodi White for State Senate and endorsed Barry Elkins over Valarie Hodges for State Representative. The chairman at that time was Harold Williams, and the makeup of the committee was substantially different from the EBR PEC today. Only four of the members of the committee from 2008 to 2012 are serving on the current committee, which will serve from 2012 to 2016.

Central Endorsements.  The current EBR PEC will meet on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, to consider endorsements in Central municipal elections. Qualifying is Feb. 12-14. If necessary, the PEC will hold an additional Endorsement meeting the following week.

Recusal. In August 2013, EBR PEC member Jr. Shelton of Central resigned his position as City of Central Republican Chairman in anticipation of his running for Mayor of Central. Although not required by the rules to do so, in December 2013, he announced that he would recuse himself from participating in the endorsement process for all Central municipal offices. At the January 2014 meeting of the PEC, he recused himself from participating in the discussion and vote on the candidates’ questionnaires for those races, and he did not participate.

Questionnaires. Last week, candidates for Central Mayor, Police Chief, and City Council were sent questionnaires by the EBR PEC. When returned by the candidates, they will be reviewed by the members of the PEC, except Mr. Shelton, who has recused himself.

Endorsement Announcements. Endorsements by the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish will be announced after the endorsement meeting at a time set by the committee.

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