Third Times a Charm for REALTOR® Champion and Salt Lake Board

Third Times a Charm for REALTOR® Champion and Salt Lake Board

December 2015

Chris McCandless is a longtime real estate professional and a tireless public servant—and in the November 2015 election season, his run for a third term on the City Council of Sandy, Utah marked a major milestone for the REALTOR® Party:  with its 1,000th Independent Expenditure Grant, it helped this REALTOR® Champion retain his seat.

Since 2012, in collaboration with state or local associations, the National Association of REALTORS® has designed and conducted independent expenditure campaigns (1,000 of them, to be exact) to support candidates who promote home ownership and protect private property rights: the REALTOR® Champions.  By investing in candidates who support REALTOR® issues, these campaigns are one of the very tangible ways that REALTOR® Party resources are at work affecting legislation and public policies to benefit real estate.

Justin Allen, the Government Affairs Director of the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS® (SLBR), applied for and received the grant that tipped the REALTOR® Party’s Independent Expenditure Grants over the 1,000 count.  Chris McCandless, he notes, is very well liked and deeply involved in the community; as a two-term Sandy City Councilman, he had demonstrated his value to his constituents, helping to focus the city’s vision for the future on real estate-based business growth, jobs and quality of life, while helping Sandy become one of Utah’s most fiscally sound cities.  But with a challenger mounting an ‘anti-incumbent’ campaign, McCandless supporters didn’t want to take any chances. 

In many states, election law prohibits independent expenditure campaigns from interacting with the candidate’s own campaign; in Utah, open collaboration is allowed, and SLBR planned and managed a campaign that coordinated efficiently with the McCandless team.  In addition to the grant from the REALTOR® Party, SLBR used funds of its own and support from the state association to mount a robust effort involving four direct mail pieces and online advertising driving traffic to the candidate’s site; SLBR also encouraged its REALTOR® members to vote for the REALTOR® Champion.  “While Chris McCandless worked hard running a winning campaign and was re-elected with a comfortable margin, there’s no doubt that the REALTOR® Party helped,” says Allen; he points out that it was a good thing SLBR hadn’t taken a victory for granted: in the same election in a nearby district of Sandy, a twenty-four-year City Council incumbent was handily defeated. 

McCandless himself asserts the importance of the REALTOR® PARTY support he received: “In running for an elected office, in order to be successful you need to have an army of folks willing to support your efforts. I believe that NAR’s Independent Expenditure efforts was one of, if not the most important element contributing to my re-election to a City Council seat in Sandy City, Utah.  Having funding, resources and strategic planning personnel along with the media exposure to supportive private property rights organizations such as NAR, the Utah Association of REALTORS® and SLBR made all the difference. The REALTOR® Party of governmental affairs members is most definitely the group you need behind you if you want to succeed.”

At NAR 360 in San Diego, Chris McCandless was celebrated as a ‘shining example’ of the REALTOR® Party’s legislative values and efforts.  And grant by grant, champion by champion, the count goes on, and so does REALTOR® Party strength.

To learn more about how the REALTORS® of Salt Lake used an Independent Expenditure grant to help keep one of its Champions in office—while marking a REALTOR® Party milestone—contact Justin Y. Allen, SLBR’s Director of Government Affairs, at or 801-542-8857.

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