COUNCIL ENDORSEMENT CAUSES MUCH GRIEF
Endorsements for political campaigns are like the oxygen that flows through a person's veins. Every time an organization throws the organization's support behind a candidate, that candidate breathes easier and has another positive thing to discuss about his or her campaign and why he or she should be elected over the opponent.
OCCASIONALLY an endorsement and how it ends up being procured can cause a lot of grief. That appears to have occurred during the Union County commissioner's race between Democrat John Howard and Republican challenger John Lamoreau.
Lamoreau, who runs Grande Ronde Retirement Residence, has been active in senior issues for a long time. Some would say it's part of his job and that of course is true, but others might say that Lamoreau would have a passion for senior issues even if he earned his living selling gas. During the summer, the Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens unanimously endorsed Lamoreau's run for county commissioner even though the organization usually endorses in statewide races only.
LAMOREAU HAD developed a friendship with Jim Davis, director of the senior citizens council and also treasurer of the Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee. Even though Davis and Lamoreau find themselves lining up at different political spectrums in many cases, they had found a common ground on senior issues. So they thought nothing of the friendly endorsement when it was made.
Unfortunately Davis or the council members didn't see a potential problem arising when the endorsement was given out to Lamoreau. Howard was not given a chance to make his pitch on how he, too, supports senior citizen issues. Things got dicey after some local Democrats got their noses out of joint and started asking questions about how the endorsement came to be. The issue made its way to the executive committee of the state Democratic Party and back to the Multnomah County central committee. The heat was turned up on Davis to the point that the senior council did a co-endorsement on Oct. 22.
HOWARD BY NOW may wish he had never heard of the Oregon State Senior Citizens Council or its endorsement. And he may wish some local Democrats would stop sticking their noses into his business.
Party politics should not figure so heavily in a group's endorsement. Organizations like the senior citizens council should hold on to their recommendations and carefully hand endorsements out to individuals who have a track record of service and pledge to continue to work for them. They do owe it to candidates to find out where each stands on issues.
The pressures put on Davis were wrong and smack of backroom politics. We would have thought better of those involved.