Conservative Christian Center Praises top 5 at annual Candidate Forum: Matthew D. Menges, Julie Wheeler, Shane Becker, Ron Smith, Rich Keurleber
The Conservative Christian Center announced its new Value Voters Guide for the 2019 General Election with five candidates earning an outstanding grade of “A” or “B” from their answers to 10 questions asked of them in the non-partisan questionnaire, with other candidates earning a “C” or a “D” for “did not participate. The grades were announced by York County CCC Board Member Robert Cosgrove at the annual Statesman of the Year and Candidate Forum at the Country Club of York. Brochures showing the ten questions – with two additional questions asked just for judicial candidates, were officially released on Saturday, October 19. All candidates were invited to speak to the breakfast.
Bulk copies of the Guide for distribution at churches and in front of polling places started at the breakfast and will continue until the day before the November 5 election, write York@ConservativeChristianCenter.org to inquire (provide your name/phone # and best time to call).
The top five candidates were:Matthew D. Menges (Republican) for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas with an “A,” Julie Wheeler (Republican) for County Commissioner with an “A,” Shane Becker (enrolled Republican running as the Democrat nominee) for Sheriff with an “A, Ron Smith (Republican) for County Commissioner earned a “B,” and Rich Keurleber (Republican) for Sheriff earned a “B”.
The candidates who were most interested in appealing to the conservative-minded, church-going value voters and either spoke at the Candidate Forum segment of the Breakfast or had a surrogate speak for them included: speaking for GOP nominees for PA Superior Court Judge Megan King and Christylee Peck, was former State Representative and York CCC/Action Statesman of the Year, Will Tallman (both earned a “D” rating for “did not respond” during the primary election and again now).
Also speaking were Sandra I. Thompson (D) for Court of Common Pleas, who earned a “D” rating but special thanks for her repeated appearances at the CCC Candidate Forums, Stacey Duckworth (D), candidate for Clerk of Court (“D” rating), Sandra F. Harrison (D), candidate for Prothonotary (who earned the same “C” rating as her Republican opponent, despite answering less questions incorrectly, and more survey questions correctly.
Additional candidates who spoke at the Candidate Forum segment of the breakfast included: Shane Becker, a registered Republican who narrowly lost the GOP nomination for Sheriff, won the Democratic nomination as a write-in candidate and earned an “A” rating during the primary, Judith Higgins (Democrat) with a “C” rating, candidate for County Commissioner, Ryan Supler (Democrat), candidate for County Treasurer with a “C” rating, and Pam Nicholson (Democrat) running for Register of Wills with a “C” rating.
Announcing the Survey results, York County CCC Director Robert Cosgrove explained that he merely tallied up the answers provided on the questions sent to candidates, contrary to some of the complaints we hear every year from candidates who don’t like the rating they were “given.” Bob’s remarks were similar to what he said at the previous 5 Candidate Forums at which he announced the survey results.
CCC does admit to a conservative, Christian bias in the questions it asks. For example, several candidates answered “No” on the question, “Do you regularly attend Church.” The CCC idea of a correct answer, however unpopular it may be with atheists and agnostics and those who don’t want this information known, is “Yes.”
For Judicial Candidates, they are asked to select their favorite Supreme Court Justice. Naming Justice Clarence Thomas or the late Antonin Scalia would earn you a perfect “10” score, with liberal Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg earning a “0” rating. Another question is, “Do you support the existing law to deport illegal aliens who commit a felony” with a “yes” earning 10 points and a “No” earning 0 points.
Candidates with 90% correct answers earned an A” rating, 80% or better earned a “B” and all other candidates who replied to the survey were scored “C” rating. The “D” is reserved for the candidates who “did not respond.” An “undecided” answer and leaving an answer blank, earn the same zero score as answering the question wrong.
Many other much more well-known, national organizations do a similar rating system, such as the American Conservative Union, Heritage Action for America (two conservative groups), the National Rifle Association, and the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. Some organizations, such as the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (which includes York County) do a questionnaire without any rating.
The Conservative Christian Center and its York County Action e-newsletter started the rating system three years ago for a primary and general election edition of its Value Voter Guide, with this most recent publication being the sixth consecutive edition. The older York County Action did no ratings on its survey. This is the 9th consecutive year of the CCC/Action candidate survey, with most of the same volunteers participating in formulating the questions and circulating the responses in the form of a brochure.
This year, for the first time, one Republican candidate has campaigned among her fellow Republicans to denounce the Conservative Christian Center for the “C” rating she earned even though the questions are the same as last year and the process is the same for the third year. One GOP officeholder called it “alarming” that CCC asked questions of candidates for office.
The two most popular reasons for candidates to not answer any/all or some of the survey questions were cited by the candidate who objected to being scored “0” for the questions she did not answer and earning a “C” rating, the same as her opponent (who answered more questions correctly, and less incorrectly). Those two popular excuses – used by both Democrats and Republicans, are:
- Their incorrect understanding of the law, if they are a judicial candidate. Many candidates in the past three years including several sitting Judges, earned an “A” rating. This year, GOP nominee Matt Smith, who spoke at the October Candidate Forum co-sponsored by CCC and the 9-12 Project in Cumberland County, addressed this very question in his remarks, citing the two federal court rulings which do in fact permit judicial candidates to address the CCC questions, which he had no hesitation to do. See “Cumberland County Candidate Forum major hit, Matt Smith Shines.”
In York County, in his second race for Judge and his first time as the GOP nominee, Matt Menges also earned an “A” rating for a second time, answering all of the questions asked.
Primary Candidate for PA Superior Court Rebecca Warren, spoke at the May, 2019 CCC Candidate Forum, and was very pointed in defending her “A” rating after another candidate labeled it “unethical” to even answer such questionnaires (which is why that GOP nominee still has a “D” rating from CCC). Warren’s remarks, to this date unrebutted, cited the court rulings which allow candidates to answer such questions. One of those rulings was based upon a lawsuit filed by the CCC predecessor organization, Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation together with the PA Family Institute. As Rebecca Warren said, they won the case and as a result there is nothing unethical about campaigning for judge and answering questions asked by interest groups such as Conservative Christian Center.
In summary: it simply is not true, that there is any prohibition on Judicial candidates answering questions such as those asked in the CCC Candidate Survey.
- The “Dogcatcher Rule” (as we have named it). This excuse goes like this: I cannot answer/will not answer, because I am running for Dogcatchter, and this position does not involve any work on the question you asked me” (ie. abortion, or cutting off aid to sanctuary cities, etc.).
Our response to these complaints, is to note for our readers, that it is not anything new that some candidates don’t want to answer questions or be pinned down. They’re prefer to campaign by speaking about their three favorite people: me, myself and I, and not about the issues that people are interested in.
The mission of the Conservative Christian Center is to try to motivate more conservative-minded, church-going value voters to vote in primary and general elections, and to help them vote with an informed conscience. We believe this can best be done by showing voters how the candidates answered questions which they, the voters, find of interest.
No doubt, if you were to conduct a survey to motivate illegal aliens to take advantage of the opportunity to illegally register to vote, as they can do in Pennsylvania very easily, you would ask different questions than those asked by the Conservative Christian Center. If you are the National Rifle Association, the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg or the liberal American Civil Liberties Union, your questions might be different than those asked by CCC.
The Pew Research Foundation has reported that the number of church-going Christians who actually vote in elections has steadily declined for the past 10 years, while the number of agnostics, atheists and Muslims voting in American elections, has steadily increased.”
CCC is proud to remind our readers that the American founding fathers were motivated by their faith when they created and signed the Declaration of Independence, created the new United States and later adopted the Constitution. Although the name “Jesus Christ” does not appear in either document, it is fact that the most religious freedom on earth, is enjoyed by Americans because of the work of those Christian founders of this Republic. CCC believes it benefits America to have more people who share the faith of the founders, voting in elections.
While CCC does not endorse candidates for office, does not score candidates based upon their political party or religious affiliation, our questions have a conservative, pro-value voter slant.
CCC thanks all candidates who participated in the recent Candidate Forum and the Value Voters Survey.
The actual guide can be reproduced by any reader – two sides of an 8 ½ by 14 sheet – either on your home printer or at a nearby copy center. CCC also has limited copies to provide in bundles for those interested. Such bundles were provided to interested parties at the recent Candidate Forum, and for the first time, mailed to a significant portion of the 12,000 York County GOP “Super Voters” (who voted in 4 consecutive elections).
The entire survey as sent in by candidates, will shortly be provided in another York County Action e-Newsletter. The 17 candidates who answered the survey in the primary, had their complete survey listed at our 5/20 blog post (candidate name and link to their survey), click HERE.
We especially thank Robert Cosgrove for his volunteer work on this sixth annual Survey, which is the foundation of the Value Voters Guide, the single most popular piece of literature at polling places on election day. We hope you will join in distributing this at your Church and on election day at your polling place. If you do, don’t be surprised when people who come out after voting, will be repeatedly thanking you for the helpful Voter Guide. No other candidate’s volunteers ever experience this as they stand next to you handing out their campaign brochures.
Reminder. Vote next Tuesday. Use the CCC Value Voter Guide to help choose who to vote for. Circulate the Guide by e-mail and Facebook. Get bulk copies for handout (print it yourself or call on us for copies) at your church or polling place on election day. And pray for a good outcome with victory for good people on election day.