In some races where there is no pro-life incumbent, there may be more than one candidate who meets the criteria for endorsement. When that is the case, the PAC will not endorse a single candidate but instead will let the voters in that district know which candidates hold a strong pro-life conviction and meet the criteria set forth below.
Registered with the Federal and State election commissions, Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee (TRL PAC) is the political action arm of Tennessee Right to Life. It is the only entity of Tennessee Right to Life which can actively endorse, support or oppose candidates for public office. Local chapters may not make endorsements of political candidates but chapter leaders are encouraged to participate as members of the Political Action Committee, especially through the interview process, in order to provide local insight and guidance in final endorsement decisions.
The goal of Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee is to inform our membership of those candidates most likely to be leaders on pro-life matters. Tennessee Right to Life is committed to working strategically for the election of pro-life public officials at every level of government and, to accomplish this objective, criteria has been established to aid in making fair and effective endorsement decisions.
Each election cycle, Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee undertakes extensive work to survey the attitudes and records of candidates seeking endorsement. Such endorsements are based upon written candidate surveys, examination of past voting records, public statements, measure of the candidate's credibility and electability, and a judgment of particular circumstances impacting each race. No candidate will be endorsed without completion of a 100% pro-life candidate survey and, in the case of non-incumbents, an interview meeting with members of Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee.
Every endorsed candidate must support the basic civil right to life of every human being, without exception, and regardless of age, handicap or social position.
Endorsements by the Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee are:
Non-Partisan. Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee endorses candidates without regard for political party affiliation, thus endorsing pro-life Democrats, Independents and Republicans who have demonstrated their commitment to defending the basic Right to Life.
Based on Established Criteria. Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee reserves our endorsement for either incumbent legislators who have been steadfast in their pro-life position including opposition to abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia, or those candidates who we are absolutely convinced will not only vote pro-life, but also use their position to be a leader on our issues.
Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee asserts that a previously-endorsed prolife incumbent has earned the continued support of the committee if the incumbent maintains a 100% voting record during both committee and floor votes and submits a 100% candidate survey.
Exceptions to this rule are considered when an incumbent has acted to oppose the protective legislative agenda of Tennessee Right to Life or otherwise threatens or blocks pro-life legislation or other priorities. The endorsement of pro-life incumbents may also be withdrawn if personal conduct raises public questions about the character or integrity of such incumbent.
In the case of open seats, Tennessee Right to Life Political Action Committee will both survey and seek interviews with registered candidates. First consideration for endorsement will be given to legislators who, having previously served, maintained both a 100% voting record and a positive working relationship with Tennessee Right to Life. A copy of the most recent Tennessee Right to Life candidate survey must also be on file with the organization's office.
Preference is also given to candidates who have practically demonstrated their pro-life commitment through support of a life-affirming agency, active membership in a pro-life organization or some other documented means of promoting the protection of human life.
Tennessee Right to Life commits to continuing and expanding our efforts of educating community leaders, including elected officials, to the importance of protecting all human life. We further encourage all pro-life Tennesseans to discuss Right to Life issues personally with candidates so that they will become better informed and realize that these issues are of paramount importance to a significant portion of the electorate. In so doing, we will hasten the day when every life is valued and once again afforded protection under the laws of our state and nation.
Click here for the Tennessee Right to Life General Assembly voting record scorecards.