Conservative Christian Center A Ratings for 8 Candidates

Candidate Forum on May 10 announces the Best Ratings for 8 Candidates on May 21 primary ballot

Eight candidates received the top rating of “A” from the Conservative Christian Center, as announced at their Candidate Forum co-sponsored with York County Action on Friday, May 10.  All candidates on the primary ballot on May 21 were invited to speak and to send in their Candidate Questionnaire, which determined their ratings.

Four of the eight candidates who earned a rating of “A” are shown on the stage (Photo) with the chairman of the York Conservative Christian Center Club, Emy Delgaudio.  They are (L to R): Barbato Arvonio (Clerk of Court candidate), Julie Haertsch (Clerk of Court candidate), Rebecca Warren (Superior Court Judge Candidate), Shane Becker (York County Sheriff Candidate).

Other candidates who were unable to attend on Friday night but who earned an “A” rating are: State Senate candidate (33rd District), Colonel Doug Mastriano, USA (Ret.), Jonelle Harter-Eschbach, Court of Common Pleas Judge candidate, Matthew Menges, Court of Common Pleas Judge candidate, Julie Wheeler, County Commissioner candidate.

Two candidates who ran in the past with an “A” rating from CCC, earned their second “A” rating – Jonelle Eshback and Matt Menges.  Although neither could attend our Candidate Forum this past Friday night, both have attended and spoken at CCC functions in the past.  Jonelle in fact, was the Master of Ceremonies for the “Candidate Forum” section of our last “Statesman of the Year” breakfast at the Country Club of York, where the honoree, the then candidate for State Senator, Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, was presented the 2018 award by the 2017 Statesman of the Year, Congressman Scott Perry.

The Candidate Questionnaire questions asked, were those determined by CCC to be on issues of interest to church-going, conservative Christians.  All the questions and the candidate answers will be published in the next edition. The full questionnaire was distributed to attendees at the May 10 Candidate Forum. 

Please note, those who wrote sentences or paragraphs explaining why they did not want to answer the questions, will have their Questionnaire accessible on this website before election day, the same as we always do.  Any question not answered earns a zero (on a 0 to 10 scale).

CCC will have a “Value Voters Guide” brochure for handout at your church, to friends and neighbors and on election day with the questions, the responses and the Ratings.  Our questionnaire spreadsheet does not have room in the small box (space for Yes/No, or Agree/Disagree) for full sentences.

The ratings were issued based upon the candidate’s answers to 10 questions (two additional questions were asked of Judicial Candidates).  The answer for each question could earn from 0 to 10 points, and the number of points determined the score.  A candidate with a 90% or better earned an “A” rating.  From 70% to 89% earned a “B” rating.  And a “C” rating was given to candidates who earned less than 69% or less.  Candidates who did not participate at all, earned a “D” rating (for “did not respond”).

Other organizations which also rate candidates for office – and which are also non-profit groups recognized by the IRS – include the conservative Heritage Action, American Conservative Union, National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. The American Civil Liberties Union, is an example of a liberal group giving out ratings.  Many of these groups also issue ratings ranging from “A” to “C” or even lower.

The CCC board has in past elections adopted this rating system, which is usually announced by Bob Cosgrove, the CCC Director who compiles the grades from the Questionnaires sent back to us, with the approval of the CCC Board of Directors.  Cosgrove said, responding to those who complained if they didn’t get an “A” rating, “I didn’t ‘give’ them the rating, I just tabulated their score.  They are the ones who earned the rating by how they answered, or did not, our simple questions.”

Several of our CCC supporters have suggested an “F” rating for anyone with less than 70%, or even a numeric rating system.  However, the worst grade that CCC gives is a “D” rating for “did not respond” when someone totally ignores our survey.  Like all universities and high schools in America, CCC gives its lowest earned grade to candidates who score from zero to 69%.  Because they want to express an attitude of gratitude to all candidate who participate in the Candidate Survey, the CCC board refuses to give anyone an F.

We are grateful to the candidates for office on the May 21 primary ballot who took the time to be with us at our Candidate Forum, and who filled out and mailed in their Candidate Survey.

Our mission at Conservative Christian Center, a non-partisan organization which does not endorse (or oppose) candidates for local, state or federal office, is to involve more of the Church going “people of faith” in the public policy arena, especially in primary and general election voting.  At most of our events, we have a speaker to explain what it means, when we say that Christians have a duty to vote “with an informed conscience.”  This past Friday, Master of Ceremonies, past Recorder of Deeds for Lancaster County, Ron Cohen, delivered the keynote remarks on this topic.  Ron is also Chairman Emeritus of York County Action and an Advisor to Conservative Christian Center.

CCC believes that the way to get more voter turnout is to address the issues of interest and concern to the church-going crowd, a majority of whom are conservative-minded.  We recognize that not everyone will agree with this approach. 

Every year in both the general election and in primaries, we see candidates who ignore our questionnaire, do not participate in our meetings or only answer a few of our questions while ignoring most of them.  Some even tell everyone who will listen, that we are asking questions that would be unethical for them to answer or which have nothing to do with the job they are seeking  These candidates often act shocked when their lack of participation or outright refusal to answer questions, earns them a “C” or a “D” rating.  Yet CCC persists, year after year.

Attacking the faith community because they are interested in issues, not parties or personalities, isn’t the path to victory in the future for any political party.  Any candidate who joins in the war on Christians, is certain to boost vote turnout by people of faith, who can use their vote to retaliate. 

We think it is especially unfair to attribute any dark motives to Bob Cosgrove, who is now in his third election year tabulating the surveys.  Bob is not a Republican Party activist nor a partisan.  As a Fourth Degree level Knights of Columbus member, his contributions of his time and money to his community and his church, and his honesty, have been clearly recognized.  Yet that is exactly what has happened this year, for the first time ever (in 15 years of ratings by York County Action, now Conservative Christian Center).

Rather than criticize our Survey or the individual tabulating it, or the idea that conservative Christians might have an interest in particular issues, we suggest instead, that candidates who do not agree with the premise of our questions, come to our meetings to directly explain to our community, their position on issues.

CCC Board member Bob Cosgrove explains, “I didn’t ‘give’ them the rating, I just tabulated their score.  They are the ones who earned the rating by how they answered, or did not, our simple questions.”

One criticism we hear every year, is that it is unfair of CCC to ask questions, and it would be unethical for the candidate to answer them.

Be advised: this isn’t true.  A state Supreme Court case ruled on this very issue.  A candidate for office – as anyone who reads the ruling can clearly see – may not speak about how they would rule on a given case that may come before them if they are elected as a Judge. 

That ruling, brought on a lawsuit by the Pennsylvania Family Association and the Lancaster Chapter of Americans for Christian Tradition in our Nation (Action of PA) years ago, was a victory for the conservative, faith-based organizations. 

Our questions have been advance-reviewed by a competent attorney in York, and have also been reviewed and all suggested amendments accepted, by individuals who went on to serve as elected Judges in York.

It is the usual thing, for some Republicans to claim they are conservative, but then dodge and weave when it comes to the specifics.  The Conservative Christian Center asked specific questions in our survey.  The candidates who earned an “A” are congratulated.  Those who participated, are thanked.  We categorically reject the idea that any one candidate may have an “ex parte hearing” (ie. private meeting, but the lawyers like to use the Latin) by Bob or our board, to try to advance-influence the vote tabulation (as has specifically been demanded by only one candidate in 15 years, just this past week).

We acknowledge that there are other matters which may influence your vote next Tuesday, May 21.  We hope that how the candidates answered our questions, will give you some of the tools you need, to determine who will be the nominees of each party.

And we congratulate those whose participation earned them a score higher than “D” (stay tuned for our next issue) which means “did not participate.”  A “C” rated candidate has our total respect and appreciation.  At least they participated – and “C” is certainly a passing grade. 

We also have candidates with a “B” rating – which although less than the “A” is still a very good score from our vantage point.  To all who participated, thank you.  To those who ranked “D” you are correct, in the unlikely event you are reading this, to surmise that many of those who receive our Value Voters Guide, may be influenced to voting for your opponent because of that score which you earned.  God bless all who have offered themselves as candidates next Tuesday, May 21.

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