With the primary elections over, county Farm Bureaus are planning open seat screenings for races across the state.
“Open seat screenings are an opportunity for county Farm Bureaus to get to know each of the candidates that are running in a district where there are no incumbents up for re-election. We are expecting to hold about 25 of these screenings,” said Doug Foxx, Ohio Farm Bureau director of political and legislative education.
Foxx said that each screening will be run by a committee of county Farm Bureau leaders, usually presidents, public policy action team leaders or other farmer members, from within the counties of the district for that race.
At the screenings, candidates will give an opening statement about who they are and why they are running for office. The committee will then hold a question and answer session to get to know the candidates’ positions and philosophies on issues.
All candidates for a race are invited to the screenings.
“Most candidates recognize that this is their opportunity to make a case for why Farm Bureau should support them in the election,” Foxx said. “We are really fortunate that our Friend of Agriculture award is one of the most sought after endorsements in the state. A lot of candidates really look for that support to share with voters in their district. They are usually very motivated to attended screening meetings.”
After the committee has heard from each candidate, members will discuss and make a recommendation to Ohio Farm Bureau’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (AGGPAC), to either support one or none of the candidates with a Friend of Agriculture endorsement.
Ohio Farm Bureau will release an election guide later this summer with a list of Friends of Agriculture.
Races with incumbent candidates will be listed in election guide as well. An incumbent Friend of Agriculture designation is determined by voting records and county Farm Bureau incumbent review forms.
“County Farm Bureaus are filling out incumbent review forms now. It helps us get input in addition to the voting record, which is the major criteria, when determining which incumbents will receive the Friends of Agriculture distinction,” Foxx said.
“We encourage any candidate that is running for office at the local, state or national level to contact their county Farm Bureau to get to know the organization director and the county leaders,” he said. “For those candidates running for state legislature or congressional delegation we are happy, here at the state office, to meet with them and brief them on the issues.”
Read the 2012 election preview
Read more about AGGPAC and Friends of Agriculture