December 25, 2009

Independence Caucus vetting fiscally responsible candidates in Colorado

December 19, 9:53 PM
Kathleen Baker

A group of ordinary citizens from Utah shocked the political world last year by defeating a six-term incumbent and replacing him with a fiscally conservative candidate who was outspent six to one by his challenger. Now they are taking their model nationally with chapters in 45 states, including Colorado. Fed up with politics as usual, these citizens founded the Independence Caucus to replace politicians financed by special interests with fiscally responsible candidates who support Constitutional principles.

During the 2008 Utah Republican primary election, the Independence Caucus targeted U.S. Representative Chris Cannon, a six-term incumbent who had endorsements from President Bush, both Utah senators, three newspapers, and the vast majority of the state GOP establishment. Their goal was to replace Cannon with Jason Chaffetz, a candidate with no significant endorsements and little money. With the grassroots help of 1,000 volunteers, Chaffetz was able to beat out Cannon during the Republican primary by a vote of 60% to 40%. He continued on to win the general election with 66% of the vote.

Riding this success, the organization has gone nationally and has sent requests to more than 1300 candidates to go through their vetting process. This process starts with a candidate filling out an 80-question form followed by an hour-long teleconference where members of the Independence Caucus are allowed to freely ask the candidates questions. The group established the questions based on the fundamental reforms the membership sees as critical in endorsing a candidate. These reforms include fixing the nation's budget problems and taxation policies and restoring the country back to Constitutional law and the Tenth Amendment.

The questionnaire is designed as a simple yes/no format so that candidates must openly state their knowledge of Constitutional law and fiscal responsibility, and whether or not they will pledge to these issues if elected...full article

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