How & Why We Endorse

The Sierra Club is involved in federal, state, and local elections throughout the nation. Our endorsement is a recommendation to Sierra Club members, to voters and the general public, to political leaders, political pundits and the media that they should support and vote for that candidate.
A Sierra Club endorsement is based primarily on three major criteria: the candidate’s overall environmental record and platform; the candidate’s performance on environmental issues as an incumbent; the candidate’s prospect of winning the election or mounting a credible campaign. The Sierra Club strives to elect candidates who will support and promote environmental protection at every level of government.
Before we endorse, candidates are evaluated. In addition to questionnaire responses and interviews, the following criteria are considered:

  • Candidate’s established policy record
  • Breadth of candidate’s environmental record
  • Candidate’s record of leadership on environmental issues
  • Candidate’s demonstrated recent commitment to environmental protection in personal life or organizational activities
  • Club’s past relationship with the candidate at the group, chapter and national levels
  • Is the environment a significant issue for the candidate? For the campaign?
  • Endorsements the candidate has received from other organizations and community leaders
  • Third-party feedback about the candidate from reliable environmental activists who have had personal experience with the candidate
  • The campaign’s resources and ability to carry out a visible and credible campaign

The Sierra Club strives to send a consistent signal to legislators and other elected officials that if they work for our issues and priorities, we will support them. An incumbent’s record and previous relations with the Sierra Club provide basis for judgement, and questionnaires are generally not sent to incumbents with a good record in office as their views have been made evident through their votes and actions. The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter does not ordinarily offer a questionnaire and interview to candidates who are running against an incumbent with a good pro-environment record.

The Sierra Club is a non-partisan organization; we do not favor any party. It is no secret that in recent years the average environmental score, as determined by scorecards produced by both the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Democrats have consistently scored higher than Republicans. Reflecting this difference, the Club has endorsed more Democrats than candidates from other parties. However, this general record does not distort our assessment of individual candidates who are committed to environmental protection. We encourage pro-environment candidates from all parties to run for office, and all candidates, regardless of party affiliation are given equal consideration.

VOTE Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, 2017.