Endorsements are a public declaration of support by the King County Democrats Central Committee (KCDCC) on behalf of a candidate for public office or for a person seeking appointment to a public position of responsibility. Endorsements (or a decision to not endorse) also signify support or opposition to ballot measures. Endorsements represent a determination by the King County Democrats that the success of a particular campaign will further our Democratic values and ideals.
Rule I — Timeframe and general criteria for endorsements
- Section 1. Every candidate endorsement shall be for a specific candidate, office and term. A candidate may not be endorsed for more than one office simultaneously.
- Section 2. A candidate or ballot measure is eligible for the KCDCC’s endorsement if the jurisdiction of their election intersects with King County and at least two separate LDs.
- Section 3. Any process sanctioned by the Washington State Democratic Party for nominating candidates supersedes these endorsement procedures if they conflict with that process.
- Section 4. All endorsement recommendations shall be made after the end of the filing period in order to consider all candidates in a particular race.
- Section 5. Endorsements for a nomination, or endorsements made after the end of filing (but before a Top Two primary election) shall be considered “regular endorsements.”
- Section 6. Endorsements made after a Top Two primary election shall be considered “late endorsements.”
Rule II — Endorsements Committee
- Section 1. The Endorsements Committee is responsible for reviewing the qualifications of candidates and making a recommendation to the membership on which candidates to support (for nominations, elected office, or appointed positions) and which ballot measures to support or oppose.
- Section 2. The County Chair, the First Vice-Chair, the Legislative District Chairs, and the King County Young Democrats Chair shall each appoint one member of the Endorsements Committee to serve as their lead representative. The member appointed by the County Chair shall serve as the Chair of the committee.
- Section 3. Legislative district organizations may appoint up to three alternate representatives. These alternates may replace the voting member when the member is unable to attend. In the absence of the LD’s lead representative, the alternate representative shall have a vote at the Endorsement Chair’s discretion.
- Section 4. No organization shall lose its vote by virtue of attendance or nonattendance.
- Section 5. The Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party or the Chair’s designee is welcome to attend any meeting of the KCDCC Endorsements Committee as a nonvoting observer.
- Section 6. A quorum must be present before the Endorsements Committee may vote. A quorum is one third of the voting members appointed to the committee. Regular business may be conducted in the absence of a quorum. Members who are calling in to the meeting are counted as part of the quorum and shall be able to participate in voting.
- Section 7. No candidate, immediate family member, employee of a consulting firm that provides services and counsel to candidates, or staff member, or anyone else with a conflict of interest involving a candidate shall be eligible to vote on candidates in that race, or observe the corresponding interview deliberations. All Endorsement Committee members are required to disclose any direct or potential conflict of interest and their voting participation will be at the Endorsement Chair’s discretion.
Rule III — Significance of endorsements
- Section 1. KCDCC’s Executive Board shall determine what services endorsed candidates are eligible to receive. Campaigns must sign a data-sharing agreement with KCDCC prior to receiving KCDCC data.
- Section 2. Candidates and ballot measure coalitions may not receive any financial support from KCDCC unless they have received an endorsement. Furthermore, KCDCC shall only promote the circulation of petitions for ballot measures it has endorsed.
- Section 3. In the absence of an endorsement, officers are expected to make case-by-case decisions on providing specific non-financial services in furtherance of KCDCC’s goals of electing Democratic candidates and advancing Democratic values and ideals.
Rule IV — Candidates eligible for endorsement
- Section 1. To be eligible for endorsement, a candidate must file as a Democrat or publicly announce his or her intention to do so, unless the candidate is seeking a nonpartisan office.
- Section 2. A candidate must complete the appropriate KCDCC candidate questionnaire to be eligible for endorsement,
and must return the questionnaire to the committee chair within
two (2) weeks after the end of the filing period to receive a recommendation before the primary or
two (2) weeks after the primary election to receive a recommendation before the general election.
The committee can waive this [recommendation] requirement by a two-thirds vote of Endorsements Committee members present and voting.
- Section 3. If the nonpartisan office sought is judicial, no attempt shall be made to ascertain party affiliation. If the nonpartisan office sought is executive or legislative, a candidate must satisfactorily answer the question, “Are you a Democrat?” in the affirmative.
Rule V — Evaluation of candidate endorsement requests
- Section 1. All endorsement requests made of KCDCC must first go to the Endorsements Committee for review and possible recommendation. Submission of a questionnaire constitutes a request. The Committee may form subcommittees to evaluate candidates.
- Section 2. If the Endorsements Committee is evaluating a race in which there are multiple Democratic candidates, and finds that one or more has not completed the KCDCC questionnaire, it may, at its discretion, choose to defer finalizing a recommendation for that race in order to give fair consideration to each candidate who may be eligible for an endorsement.
- Section 3. To be recommended for endorsement to the KCDCC Executive Board or to the full central committee, a candidate or ballot measure position must receive a two-thirds vote of voting-eligible Endorsements Committee members present following deliberations.
- Section 4. The Endorsements Committee may only recommend one candidate per office at a time. If the KCDCC Executive Board refuses a recommendation but does not endorse a competing candidate prior to adjourning, the Endorsements Committee may recommend a different candidate for the same office at the next meeting.
Rule VI — Endorsements for and against ballot measures
- Section 1. No request from a campaign or coalition is necessary for KCDCC to take a position on a ballot measure. Positions may be taken on any ballot measure (such as an initiative, proposition, constitutional amendment, or referendum) for which the language is finalized and a number assigned.
- Section 2. Resolutions concerning ballot measures are only in order if the KCDCC has taken a position on the ballot measure in accordance with these endorsement rules, and the proposed resolution is consistent with the KCDCC’s position.
Rule VII — Committee meetings, questionnaires, and interviews
- Section 1. Each winter, the Endorsements Committee shall prepare questionnaires for offices to be contested at the next Top Two and general elections. The members of the committee must approve the questionnaires by majority vote. Approved questionnaires shall be submitted to KCDCC by the Committee for ratification no later than March 1 in accordance with KCDCC bylaws.
- Section 2. Questionnaires for candidates seeking appointment to an office that is being filled by special election shall be developed, approved, and submitted for ratification as needed.
- Section 3. The Endorsements Committee’s Chair or Vice Chair shall regularly poll committee members to find appropriate times and venues for the committee to periodically meet to conduct its business.
- Section 4. The Endorsements Committee shall be responsible for reaching out to candidates interested in applying for KCDCC’s endorsement and scheduling interviews with them.
- Section 5. At the discretion of the KCDCC Chair and Endorsements Chair, interviews may be held jointly with legislative district organizations for candidates running for office within their jurisdictions.
Rule VIII — Consideration of endorsement requests; endorsement motions
- Section 1. Endorsement requests may be considered at every regular meeting of the Executive Board or Central Committee between the close of candidate filing and the general election. At other times of the year, notice must be provided, from the KCDCC Chair to the Chair of the Endorsements Committee, fourteen days in advance that endorsement business will be on the agenda.
- Section 2. At each meeting where endorsements are being considered by KCDCC, the Chair and Endorsements Chair shall propose, as part of the meeting agenda, a schedule to determine the order of consideration for the committee’s recommendations and motions from the floor.
- Section 3. The proposed and adopted schedules must ensure that competing motions from the floor to endorse candidates for the same office are considered together.
- Section 4. The Endorsements Committee must present its recommendations, if it is making any, before any endorsement motions from the floor can be considered. Motions to endorse that are offered prior to this presentation shall be out of order. Each presentation of the committee shall constitute a separate motion and not require a second to be placed on the floor.
- Section 5. Endorsement motions are not amendable, nor may they be tabled. However, they may be postponed to a future scheduled meeting, if that meeting will take place before the next election.
- Section 6. Endorsement motions recommended by the Endorsements Committee may be approved by a majority vote of the body. Endorsements of other candidates may be approved by a 2/3 vote of the body.
- Section 7. Slates of candidates and ballot measure positions may be considered in a single motion, but a slate may list only one candidate per office.
- Section 8. Candidates shall only be considered for endorsement once per election, or once prior to the date of a nominating convention. New motions to endorse a candidate whose endorsement has already been voted down at a current or prior meeting shall be considered at the discretion of the Endorsements Committee Chair.
- Section 9. The KCDCC Chair shall provide the body with opportunities to ask questions about a recommendation prior to taking speakers for and against the motion to adopt the recommendation.
- Section 10. Debate on each endorsement motion shall be limited to two statements for and against, lasting no longer than two minutes each. The Chair shall appoint a timekeeper to enforce this rule.
- Section 11. When a vote on an endorsement motion is held, the secretary shall record the number of ayes and the number of nays on the motion immediately after the Chair has stated a tally for each.
- Section 12. The name of any candidate recommended for endorsement shall be released to the executive board at least 5 days prior to any vote on the endorsement.
Rule IX — Endorsements for nominations, nominations, and late endorsements
- Section 1. Candidates who are seeking an elective office for which the Washington State Democratic Party will be nominating a candidate may only request to be endorsed for the nomination prior to the date of the nominating convention for that office.
- Section 2. Candidates who are seeking to be elected to the offices of state senator or state representative from districts wholly or partially within King County shall not be eligible for an endorsement until they have been endorsed and/or nominated by their respective legislative district,
- Section 3. Candidates who are nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party for the following statewide and federal positions shall automatically be considered endorsed:
- The federal offices of U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative
- The statewide executive department offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Insurance Commissioner
- Section 4. The candidates nominated for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States of America by the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention shall automatically be considered endorsed. Motions to endorse candidates for either office are never in order.
- Section 5. In the event that a candidate who is endorsed by KCDCC for a nomination does not become the nominee, the endorsement that he or she received shall immediately lapse.
- Section 6. An endorsement for a nomination remains valid until the nomination is filled or the candidate is eliminated from contention due to failing to place first or second in a Top Two election.
- Section 7. In the event that a candidate nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party for federal or statewide office does not survive the Top Two election, and the WSDCC does not choose a new nominee at its autumn meeting, the remaining Democrats in the race — if any — shall become eligible for a late endorsement, if they have satisfied the requirements set forth in Rule IV.
Rule X — Rescission of endorsements
- Section 1. An endorsement may be rescinded by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting at a KCDCC meeting. Any voting member of KCDCC may request that KCDCC consider rescinding an endorsement at an upcoming meeting, but this request must include a rationale and must be made of the Chair at least ten days in advance of a meeting so timely notice can be provided to KCDCC.
- Section 2. If the KCDCC Chair approves a request to consider rescinding an endorsement of a candidate at an upcoming meeting, that candidate must be copied on the final call to the meeting.
- Section 3. In the event that an endorsed candidate withdraws, the endorsement he or she received from KCDCC shall immediately and automatically lapse.
Rule XI — Endorsements for leadership positions in the Democratic Party
- Section 1. An individual seeking a Washington State Democratic Party leadership position may request an endorsement in advance of the meeting when the position will be filled. Endorsement requests for party offices that are to be filled at biennial reorganization meetings cannot be considered until the date of the general election in November has passed.
- Section 2. KCDCC shall not endorse candidates for leadership positions on its own executive board or the boards of any legislative district organization.
Rule XII — Amendment of these Endorsement Procedures
- Section 1. Once adopted, these procedures may be amended by majority vote of the KCDCC at any properly called meeting; however, notice that changes to the endorsements procedures will be considered must be provided at least ten days in advance.
- Section 2. Scenarios not explicitly covered here should be governed by KCDCC bylaws or be at the discretion of the Endorsement Committee Chair.
(adopted January 28, 2020, by the KCDCC Executive Board; as amended from prior version of March 26, 2019)