A look into who is endorsing who in the upcoming Nov. 2 municipal elections for city council, the mayor’s office, and board of education
ATLANTA – Organizations and public figures have been endorsing candidates throughout the history of campaigns and elections. Many current candidates’ social media or websites proudly display their photo next to various backers and endorsers. Public statements, names, and likenesses of endorsers on press materials and appearances at campaign events are common forms of endorsement.
But what do endorsements mean to voters? Unfortunately, as constituents in my district have told me, endorsements from local companies, grassroots environmental organizations, and the like do not seem to change the minds of voters. Yes, those endorsements can give a small campaign a boost in name recognition or donations. However, candidates who garner support from organizations like Atlanta Police Unions or the Atlanta Police Foundation draw a polarizing line in the sand for many. Especially for voters divided by topics like Cop City, closing the Atlanta City Detention Center, and the police budget.
More importantly, how do candidates even receive those endorsements? Unlike paid features or advertisements on social media platforms, candidates obtain endorsements through interviews and written responses to questionnaires. An anonymous source running in the current election recently shared with me some insights into the endorsement process. They were turned off by many of the questions asked and decided not to seek those endorsements and have opted instead to participate in candidate forums and canvassing in their district. The candidate also provided emails and samples of questionnaires from organizations throughout Atlanta and Georgia.
The questionnaires showed organizations go to great lengths to question, train, and vet candidates before offering public support. Mistakes, mischaracterizations, and broken promises are too costly in this age of unforgivable missteps. (See Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, for example.) Organizations’ surveys and questionnaires pose questions ranging from standard information and descriptions of candidates’ qualifications to aligning with each organization’s priorities. Some organizations, like the Sunrise Movement, go as far as including signed pledges in the process.
A sample of organizations, public figures, and their endorsements for candidates are listed below. Descriptions of each organization are quoted from their websites or social media accounts. Each organization and candidate’s social media posts and websites were painstakingly combed through by yours truly to compile this list. If neither the organization or the candidate listed an endorsement, they are not included on the list. The candidates are listed in random order for the mayoral race and by their district for the city council and board of education. At first glance, the chart shows that most endorsements are reserved for city council candidates, with the board of education candidates and mayoral candidates receiving the fewest.
You can view the endorsement charts for each race here or embedded below.
Working Families Party
“The Working Families Party is the party for the multicultural working class, fighting for a nation that cares for all of us.” The questionnaire focuses on how well a candidate aligns with the People’s Charter.
Fair Fight Action
“Fair Fight Action brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.”
Voice of the People
“Voice of the People was formed to remind the people that no matter the era, the oppressor, or the pushback; the voice of the people can never be silenced. Along with lobbying for the People’s demands. Voice of the People specializes in constituent lobbying.”
Committee for a New Georgia
“The committee supports campaigns that address underrepresented and underserved communities for a better Georgia.” The committee is the independent affiliate of the New Georgia Project Action Fund.
“Sunrise Movement seeks to “elect a new generation of leaders who will fight to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” Endorsed candidates must follow the Sunrise Movement’s endorsement process, including signing the Green New Deal pledge.
Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council
“We are democratically elected bodies dedicated to represent the interests of working people at the state and local level.
“The Sierra Club sees the importance of having environmental champions at all levels of elected office. That’s why every year, we endorse state and municipal candidates that we believe will be true champions on our issues.” The endorsement process includes questionnaires and interviews.
Grassroots Law PAC
“Grassroots Law PAC is a federal political committee that primarily helps elect our endorsed candidates through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.” Endorsement based on candidates closely aligned with their policy plan.
Run for Something
“Run for Something will recruit and support young, diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build sustainable power for Democrats in all 50 states.” Qualifications, questionnaires, and endorsements are geared towards young (aged 40 and under) progressive candidates.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
“AFSCME uses voluntary contributions collected through its PEOPLE program, not dues, to contribute to candidates for federal office and in certain states where other funding is restricted. Our union’s political action fund provides us with an opportunity to stand together to protect the benefits and rights we’ve won in our workplaces and our communities.”
Justice, Equality, & Economics
“Our organization researches candidates to ensure their view and approach is in the best interest of the electorate.”
Committee for a Better Atlanta
“A business coalition focused on advocating a common business and civic agenda and evaluating City of Atlanta candidates.” Through questionnaires and interviews, candidates are ranked, not endorsed, based on how closely they align with CBATL’s policy platform.
Georgia Stonewall Democrats
“Each election cycle Georgia Stonewall only endorses candidates who demonstrate their commitment to inclusion and equality.”
Georgia Equality PAC
“Georgia Equality is the state’s leading non-partisan political advocacy organization representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.” Endorsement based on candidates best suited to advance the organization’s policy agenda.
Atlanta Realtors PAC
“The Atlanta REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) supports local candidates in the metro Atlanta area who share our position on issues such as protecting property rights, promoting smart growth, creating affordable housing opportunities, and encouraging economic development — regardless of partisan affiliation.”
Atlanta Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 134
“Atlanta Professional Firefighters is the IAFF Local 134 representing the men and women of Atlanta Fire Rescue.”
Equity in Education
“We put energy and resources behind candidates who center students and elevate equitable policies over politics.” Candidates participated in surveys and training sessions and were endorsed based on their alignment with the Equity in Education policy platform.
Fulton County and District Attorney Fani Willis and Sheriff Patrick Labat
Public figures include former Atlanta mayors, US and Georgia state senators, representatives, and other Metro Atlanta elected officials.
Early voting begins on October 12. For more information visit the Fulton County Elections Board website.