The Greenville Chamber, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce today issued ratings of the 19 candidates in the Fourth Congressional District race to assist Upstate business leaders in their decision to back a candidate.
“With so many candidates, there has been a lot of confusion among business leaders in deciding which candidate to back in this race,” said Allen Smith, President and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber. “We hope we can provide some clarity for our members as they navigate the final month of this campaign.”
Four candidates in the field – two Republicans, one Democrat and the American Party candidate – earned an “Excellent” rating. Three other candidates were found to be “Well-Qualified.” The ratings will be distributed to the Chambers’ combined nearly 5,000 Investors. This was the first time the chambers have embarked on such a project.
“It can be difficult to make an educated decision in such a crowded race. We are proud to partner with our fellow chambers to offer an innovative solution to make it easier for the business community to make an informed decision based on the issues important to the business community,” said Jason Zacher, Senior Vice President of Business Advocacy for the Greenville Chamber.
The candidates completed a 10-question written survey on issues such as trade, tax policy, regulation and immigration. On Friday, May 11, participating candidates were interviewed by staff and volunteers from the three chambers. The in-person questions focused on job creation, energy policy, and education.
“We urge citizens across the Fourth District to carefully judge the candidates on their merits and we urge them to vote on June 12th,” said Dr. Marjorie Dowd, President/CEO of the Greater Greer Chamber. “Open Congressional elections do not happen very often, so it is vital that we all take some time before June to learn about each of these candidates.”
All 19 candidates in the race were sent 10 written questions in mid-April and asked to attend in-person interviews on Friday, May 11. Of that number, 14 returned the questionnaire, and only Mr. Bright ended up not being able to attend an interview. See the written questions here.
Scores were based 40% on written answers and 60% on their in-person interviews (which included follow-up based on written answers and additional questions on topics such as education, energy, healthcare, and trade). Candidates were also asked to identify their top priorities and how they would achieve them.
Candidates were evaluated based on policy positions and rationale, attitude towards business issues and our local Chambers, qualifications/experience, knowledge of the district, knowledge of the position, and professionalism. Alignment with local Chamber policy positions, while considered, was not a sole determining factor. Candidates that disagreed with local Chamber positions, but were able to provide sound reasoning and real-world examples supporting their position, also received high marks.
The interviewing committee was comprised of Chamber Investors representing a wide variety of industry experts from across the 4th District, with sectors represented including manufacturing, healthcare, education, small business, professional services, government affairs professionals, and Chamber leadership.
For more information, contact Jason Zacher.