Much like respect, endorsements must be earned. And just like respect, endorsements are sometimes lost. But a stolen endorsement can neither be earned nor lost.

Around April 2012, before the primary election, I received a phone call from an officer of the Federated Republican Women reminding me that presidents of Federated Republican Women clubs were not allowed to endorse candidates, therefore why does Jim Miller list me as an endorser on his Jim Miller for Judge website? Well, imagine my surprise! I had not endorsed Mr. Miller verbally, in writing or even hinted at such. I called Mr. Miller and told him while I liked him, I most certainly had not given him or anyone with his campaign permission to use my name, or any title I hold, to post as my endorsement of his candidacy for judge.

He chuckled and asked who was calling me out on this. I thought it strange that his concern was who busted him and not that he had listed incorrect information on his website. I wasn’t angry or irritated, but chalked it up to a minor mistake and felt that as long as he removed my name from his list of endorsers, the matter was closed. It took almost two months for my name to be removed from his website.

A few weeks ago, Voice of San Diego ran an article titled “Judicial Candidate Forced to Pull Some Endorsements.” I was contacted by Lisa Halverstadt, a VOSD reporter, and asked about my experience with Mr. Miller. The article recounted my experience:

‘I wasn’t aware of it,’ Chavez said. ‘I wasn’t irritated or angry but it just hadn’t happened. I don’t know why he did that.’

Chavez called Miller to ask him to remove her name from his website, and he did.

Miller insisted to VOSD that Chavez had in fact endorsed him and later changed her mind.

It’s one thing to believe that a collegial relationship lends itself to an endorsement. But once it has been made very clear that no endorsement was given, to then say that I had endorsed but later changed my mind is completely and unequivocally false.

Currently, Miller also lists the endorsement of the San Diego County Federation of Republican Women on his website from his 2010 run for Superior Court judge. The president of the SDCFRW in 2010 has confirmed an endorsement was not given then, either. Standing rules for federated clubs is they do not endorse before the primary and he did not receive 50 percent of the vote after the primary. The leadership and members of SDCFRW had not given their endorsement to Miller in 2010 or in 2012 as this year we have two Republicans running for the same office and don’t offer endorsements under these circumstances.

I would like to hope Mr. Miller takes this as a “teaching moment” not to risk the reputation of a hard working Republican who has contributed thousands of her family’s money to the Republican effort just to save his own face. I don’t appreciate the disrespect and discrediting of my reputation to VOSD and consequently to the entire San Diego community. And as important, it is not acceptable for any facet of the Federated Republican Women, albeit national, state, county or a local unit to allow these deceptions to go on without addressing them.

We all work much too hard to have our members and our mission disrupted, disrespected, dismissed and demeaned. Women need to stand up for ourselves, individually and collectively. The leadership of our state, counties and local clubs must speak out on these issues, defend our positions and our members, and not allow individuals to twist the truth, spin and lie about facts pertaining to our organization. I would hate to see members demoralized and the momentum we’ve built this year diminished.

Beyond a stolen endorsement, candidates who falsely claim endorsements demonstrate disrespect for the value of legitimate endorsements. Ethics and integrity matter, nowhere more than the judiciary.

Delores Chavez-Harmes is the treasurer for San Diego County Federation of Republican Women.

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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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