Editors Note: This is the second installment of a 5 part series on Recommending a President: The GR Process Explained.
Once the GR Committee has been installed, the process of candidate recommendations begins. As candidates announce their intention to seek office, the GR Committee reaches out to them. The Committee set a July 31st deadline to have all interviews completed.
In early May, a letter was sent via regular mail and email to New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP) Chairman Raymond Buckley and NHGOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn informing them that that NEA-NH would be beginning its interview process for any candidate that would like to be considered for our endorsement. Due to the ever-changing field of candidates, both Chairs were asked to please forward our invitation to any interested candidate and contact us if they were interested.
NEA-NH was informed by the NHDP that Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley, Senator Sanders, and Governor Chafee were interested and provided contact information for their campaigns. All four campaigns were emailed invitations outlining our process and our July 31st deadline. All four campaigns expressed interest and said they would be in touch going forward.
We received no response from the NHGOP. Some members have asked why the Committee only interviewed Democratic candidates this year. The answer is very simple; no Republican candidate accepted our offer to be interviewed. Without an interview, the Committee very rarely recommends a candidate. NEA-NH did not reject Republican candidates this year, Republican candidates rejected NEA-NH.
NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray, Executive Director Rick Trombly, Communications Director George Strout, worked with GR Chair Bonnie Doherty and Jake Sweeney from NEA to develop a list of 8 questions that would be asked of each candidate. These questions were not provided to the candidate before hand, but each candidate was informed of the number of questions. They were also provided with a short bio of each GR Board member.
At the beginning of each interview, candidates were provided an opportunity to make an opening statement. Each candidate was then asked the same eight questions by Bonnie Doherty, after which there was an opportunity for follow-up questions from other board members. Candidates finished the interview with a closing statement. Each interview lasts approximately an hour. Following the interview, each candidate was provided a copy of the questions asked in writing in case they wanted to elaborate on any issue or correct anything they may have said.
At the completion of the round of interviews, the Committee meets to discuss the results, apply their evaluation criteria, and determine if they can recommend a candidate. There is much discussion and open debate and a final vote is only taken when the Committee agrees that they have exhausted their discussions. The questions asked of the candidates and the evaluation criteria will be covered in the next installments.
The Committee’s decision is not made public until presented to the Executive Board. The Executive Board acknowledges receipt of the Committee’s decision then decides how to act on it. They can accept the decision and make it public immediately, opt to delay publication of the recommendation, reject the decision, or choose to do nothing.