Endorsement season is in full swing in Brooklyn. One coveted endorsement in Brooklyn’s 11th congressional district this year is that of the Independent Neighbordhood Democrats (IND), known for their voluminous and accurate petition gathering.
At their candidates forum last night at the Kane Street Synagogue, it came to light that 90 or so new members had stacked the club, two thirds or so in favor of Chris Owens, days before the deadline that would bar them from voting in a May endorsement meeting. (The club is now revisiting their membership rules, but currently they require at least 60 days of membership before voting on an endorsement.) IND has since changed the date of the endorsement meeting from May 18 to May 4, disallowing any of the new members to vote.
Owens and his father have been members of the club for some time, but club members say support was so evenly divided between the candidates that just a few votes could change the outcome of the endorsement.
This isn’t a new problem, nor is it unusal for candidates to stack clubs in their favor; but this instance brings up the fact that clubs have to strike a difficult balance between wanting new members (many are in serious need of new blood just to keep them functioning), raising membership dues (IND costs $35/year bringing in $3,125 for 90 new members) and having a fair endorsement that will give support to the most desired candidate.