CLEAT was the first statewide law enforcement union in Texas to endorse candidates, first to lobby the state legislature, first to encourage our local affiliates to become politically active and the first to form a Political Action Committee.
The CLEAT political endorsement is free, independent and free from political influence. Since we are the only statewide law enforcement organization to neither accept government grant money or telephone solicitation funds from the public, we are completely unencumbered by threats or promises from campaigning politicians or their handlers.
The CLEAT endorsement process is basic; we endorse the candidates who have a strong record of support and agree to work for the betterment of our members, who are all full time law enforcement personnel. We assist our local associations in weighing their options and making informed decision that will optimize our political endorsements.
We weigh candidate viability by looking at their record on our issues, their campaign message, financial backing and by using scientific polling to look at political trends throughout the state. Ultimately we encourage our local affiliates to make the decisions regarding whom we endorse in open legislative seats, but generally CLEAT adheres to the friendly incumbency rule. An example of when we go with a challenger is when the incumbent has been unfriendly toward our issues, hasn’t done enough to warrant our endorsement or the challenger comes with a strong, local recommendation from officers on the ground in the district.
CLEAT makes every attempt to follow the endorsement of our local affiliates in district races; therefore allowing the local associations to follow the statewide organization in statewide races. These are not hard and fast rules followed to the letter and sometimes local associations diverge and take their own course for local political reasons. Although it’s rare, that is the local prerogative.
You may not see some candidates listed as being endorsed because they do not have an opponent, or some races may have multiple candidates and CLEAT is waiting on the local voters to weed down the field before we endorse in the general election.
In some races, the real campaign is in the general election and it is in CLEAT’s strategic interest to wait to endorse in the Fall. In a few cases you will see us endorse a candidate who isn’t going to win. Again, we are endorsing the person who has either stood tall for law enforcement in the past and we have no qualms in standing with those who stand with us, even when the going gets tough.
Some races may not have an endorsed candidate because CLEAT does not have a strategic interest in the race as it currently stands. In a few races we may have chosen simply not to endorse any candidate because no candidate distinguished themselves as being particularly friendly to our issues.
In other races we may see that both candidates are friendly to our issues but the race is too close to call and CLEAT has no interest in taking sides in a fight between two of our friends.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas has a long and proud history of political involvement. All of our decisions are made with the full knowledge of the CLEAT Executive Board, Committee on Public Affairs and our local unions. At every turn, our political decisions are fully vetted by duly elected law enforcement officers at CLEAT. We are the only law enforcement union in Texas to conduct our political business in this manner.