In the simplest terms, the difference is that nomination is determined by state statute and procedures, while an endorsement is controlled by the party bylaws and procedures. More importantly, a nomination affects how party labels will appear next to a candidate’s name on the General Election ballot, but an endorsement will not.
The standard and most straightforward way to be nominated by the Party is to win the Progressive Primary, either as a write-in or as a listed candidate. As a write-in, a candidate must get more votes than a listed candidate, OR (if there are no other listed candidates), get at least half as many votes as they would have needed signatures to get on the Primary ballot. For example, a candidate for State Representative needs 50 signatures to get on the primary ballot, so they would need 25 votes to win the primary as a write-in if no other candidate were listed on the ballot.
The other way to get the Party’s nomination is to have a district committee fill an “anticipated primary vacancy” by holding a meeting by Aug. 15th, 2016. It’s a little confusing on the Senate and House level, as the District committee isn’t necessarily the same as a Town or County Committee. Burlington, for example, is divided into several House Districts, while other House Districts are made of multiple towns. And Senate Districts do not correspond exactly with counties. The same process is used for the general election for any “anticipated” general election vacancies. On the state level, the Party’s state committee will address nominations for any anticipated general election vacancies at its August 13th meeting.
Endorsements are statements by the appropriate party committee (state or district) to show support for a candidate in the primary or general election.
The Party bylaws outline guidelines for determining endorsements include:
- The candidate’s affirmative endorsement of the Vermont Progressive Party Statement of Principles;
- The candidate’s commitment not to work in opposition to any provision in the Progressive Party Platform;
- The candidate’s commitment not to work against Progressive Party endorsed candidates; and
- The candidate’s committee to caucus regularly with other Progressive elected officials.
It is important to remember that no matter who a Committee nominates or endorses, the results of a primary take precedence. Although who we endorse (or choose not to endorse) has no binding control over who can run as a Progressive, it allows the Party to publicly show our support (or lack of support) for a particular candidate in the primary and/or general election. Also, it is ultimately up to the candidate to choose the order that she/he will use for party affiliation on the ballot.