Endorsing a candidate for political office is more than just putting signs up in a front yard or advertising that message on an organization’s website.
For many local, state and national organizations and agencies, it involves members talking about who they want to represent them as elected officials and that can be a complex process.
One of the most talked-about races in the March 3 primary is the competition among five candidates for Sen. Mike Morrell’s seat in the 23rd Congressional District.
The candidates are: Beaumont city councilman Lloyd White, who works for Esri; Kris Goodfellow, a business entrepreneur; Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh, a realtor and Yucaipa school board member; Abigail Medina, a San Bernardino school board member, and Cristina Puraci, a teacher and Redlands school board member.
White’s endorsements include Senator Jeff Stone and Yucaipa Mayor Bobby Duncan.
White also has been endorsed by the Beaumont Police Officers Association, said president Brian Ford, an officer with Beaumont Police Department for 12 years.
Ford said the association’s board meets to determine which candidates, if any, garner their support.
“All members of the board discuss it prior to providing endorsement,” Ford said.
The officers association endorsed White and Mayor pro-tem Mike Lara in the 2018 Beaumont City Council election.
White is their choice for Senate because “A lot of the things he has done is for law enforcement,” Ford said.
The Police Officers Association is a five-member board.
Ford said that they talked with White about some issues in the Police Department and he has been very helpful. They also appreciate his honesty and that he will not make promises he cannot keep, Ford said.
He is not sure that endorsements hold as much weight like they did in years past, but the officers association is still willing to back one of the candidates.
Ford also said that the association is comprised of union members and wanted to make sure the public knew that this is not an endorsement from the police department.
Ford said they have been asked in the past for endorsements from candidates, but have turned them down.
“It’s not a simple decision,” he said.
Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh’s endorsements include Sen. Mike Morrell, Assemblyman Paul Cook and the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee.
The committee, based in Rancho Cucamonga, is chaired by former Beaumont mayor Jan Leja.
She said that each candidate is contacted and a proper introduction is made. “They get to know all of our members,” Leja said.
The candidates are invited to a meeting, where they can talk to the group for four minutes.
Then the members are divided into caucus areas and the candidates visit each caucus area and are asked a lot of questions. Voting members can receive more information from the candidates.
During the voting process, a two-thirds vote is required. If there are more than two candidates and no one receives a two-thirds vote, then the bottom candidate is dropped.
Voting starts again with the two remaining candidates until there is a clear winner.
Leja said that there are 49 voting members.
Leja said the candidates really have to sell themselves and convince the committee as to why they should receive the endorsement.
Kris Goodfellow has received numerous endorsements from organizations such as the California Teachers Association, the California Democratic Party and Assemblyman James Ramos.
One of the organizations that recently un-endorsed her was the Democratic Party of Rancho Cucamonga.
This happened recently when Goodfellow, during a campaign event, criticized her opponent Abigail Medina and said that Medina was queer and had lied about her Mexican-American heritage and family.
Medina acknowledged that she is gay and had recently been divorced from her husband, with whom she shares five children.
Goodfellow received a lot of negative press and wrote a statement apologizing for her words.
“I entered this race for State Senate because I wanted us to do better — to fight for good jobs, invest in education, combat climate change and make our society more equal and fair for all.
“I am sorry about the recent controversy over some things I said about my opponent. I have tried to take the high road, focusing my campaign and uplifting others. It was a mistake to deviate from that path. My intention was to answer a question about viability, and I now understand that my comments may have been misinterpreted and were hurtful.
“I believe that the rich diversity we have in California is our strength — in all ways. I have long been an ally and advocate for LBGTQ rights, communities of color and women’s equality in our society. I pledge to continue to listen and learn because I am committed to doing the hard work it is going to take to make our world more equitable and to represent all voices in our community. “I know that the issues we face are important, and we will only conquer them together. I will fight for good jobs, clean air and excellent public education for every kid. I will stand up for equal pay for equal work, access to reproductive healthcare and paid parental leave.
I greatly appreciate the brave critics who have called to talk to me about their concerns, as well as the support I’ve received from friends, neighbors, labor, progressive organizations and most of all the voters. Together we will move forward and flip this seat blue.’’
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (951) 849-4586, ext. 119.