What races are selected?
LEAP Forward considers endorsements for any challenger for legislative office - either challengers for an open seat or to a Republican incumbent in a general election, or in some cases, challengers to sitting Democratic incumbents in a primary. LEAP Forward will consider primary challengers to any Democrat with a negative overall score for the most recent legislative session.
How are candidates considered?
When assessing candidates, determinations are made based entirely on the candidate’s stated platform on gun safety and regulation. Electability is not a consideration in researching endorsements - my goal is not to pick winners, but to recommend the best candidates running in each district. It is furthermore not my goal to endorse in every race - if a candidate does not have a clearly stated, voter-accessible platform on this issue, they are not considered for endorsement.
Once that first criteria is met, the candidate’s platform is graded and evaluated. LEAP Forward does not use candidate questionnaires or surveys, but instead only takes into consideration information already available to the public. If the platform is comprehensive and implementable, I reach out to the candidate to offer an endorsement. If more than one candidate is running for a seat, the platforms are compared and the candidate with the stronger list of policies is offered the endorsement.
The final determining factor is that the candidate must opt-in. Only if the candidate or the campaign agrees to be listed is the endorsement then made official and announced.
What does an endorsement MEan?
Endorsements from LEAP Forward are simply personal recommendations for voters who want to make gun violence and regulation a determining factor in their vote. Each endorsed candidate will get a page on leap-forward.org with links to campaign websites, social media accounts, and a news feed with applicable information from the campaign trail. While fundraising links to candidates are provided, LEAP Forward does not raise money on behalf of any endorsed candidates, and e-mail lists are not exchanged. LEAP Forward has no board or membership, and exists not as an organization but as a research project, and is not monetized or financed in any way.
In addition to official endorsements, LEAP Forward will be publishing voter guides prior to all state and federal legislative elections. To be included, incumbents must have a total score that is equal to or greater than 150% of the average total score for Democratic members of their legislative body.
The process for grading incumbents is outlined HERE.