National Association of REALTORS® political advocacy facilitators have been criss-crossing the country training REALTOR® association leaders on selecting political candidates to back in upcoming elections. In California and Vermont, Oregon and Louisiana, REALTOR® associations are gearing up for the midterms by hosting NAR's Best Practices for Choosing REALTOR® Champions course.
This three-hour training session was developed by NAR to provide best practices for RPAC trustees, government affairs committees, or other committees that disburse money to candidates at their state or local associations. "One great takeaway for members tends to be the realization that REALTORS® back candidates who support our issues, our industry, and private property rights, and not simply because the candidate is a Republican, Democrat, or a friend," says Kyle Lambert London, NAR's REALTOR® Party education manager.
The training provides hands-on assistance and time-tested templates to identify and support political candidates who are best qualified to represent the issues important to REALTORS® and real estate. "Association staffers really appreciate that we provide several useful sample documents as guidelines, including candidate questionnaires, procedures for interviews, sample candidate score cards, conflict of interest policies, etc.," says Lambert London.
One of the main messages of the course is that REALTOR® associations are nonpartisan, and endorsements are not party-based. "We are the REALTOR® Party in all our advocacy efforts, although we will always have a few members who choose not to believe that," says Beck. For instance, she said, they offer interviews to all state office candidates who will be on the ballot regardless of party affiliation.
How to reach out to candidates not familiar with the REALTOR® organization and educate them about real estate issues is a key skill taught in the course. "We had some local boards who didn't support races if candidates didn't come to them," says Beck. They now know they need to reach out and interview candidates and educate them about our industry and our concerns."
In addition to the course on Choosing REALTOR® Champions, NAR offers a candidate training academy for members and AEs interested in running for public office.