The half-dozen Democrats running for U.S. President aren’t the only candidates who have their own why-you-should-elect-me Web sites. Two candidates for the 2008 presidency of the National Association of Realtors also have put their qualifications and activities on the Web to win support and votes.

The candidates are Dick Gaylord of RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., and Chip Boring, broker/owner of RE/MAX Realty Plus in Sebring, Fla. Both Realtors are running for NAR 2006 first vice president, a position that in the normal course of events would lead the winner to become NAR president-elect in 2007 and NAR president in 2008.

The Web sites are interesting because they hint at the extent to which the Web finally has permeated the real estate consciousness, and they suggest that NAR’s backroom-style campaigns could become more open in the future if online formats and technology bring more Realtors into the process.

Front-runner Gaylord opened his Web site April 1, 2003, the first day that a state association–in his case the California Association of Realtors–was permitted to endorse and support a candidate for the office.

“When I began the campaign, I knew communication was going to be crucial to success. I decided on a lot of face-to-face and person-to-person communication, newsletters/mailings and a Web site,” Gaylord said.

Boring launched his Web site in May 2003 after the NAR midyear meetings in New Orleans. NAR directors are the “primary audience” for the Web site, he said, but state association officers and other influential Realtors are an important secondary audience as well.

Few Realtors understand how the very complex NAR election process works, and many more don’t have a clue as to who is the president of their association is.

The newest campaign Web sites don’t aim to change or even challenge those realities. Instead they are intended to disseminate information about the candidates and their campaigns to NAR directors and others who influence those directors’ voting decisions. NAR directors vote directly for NAR officers, but some state association directorships direct how the national directors cast their ballots, for instance.

Gaylord’s Web site features his biography, a number of testimonials and welcome letters, a campaign calendar, a map of his state association endorsements and other data.

“The Web site has proven to be a great communication vehicle and the campaign is going very well. I am proud of the fact that we have 46 state endorsements and 10 region endorsements,” he said.

Boring’s Web site contains his biography, a summary of his experience and a vision statement along with other information. He’s also planning to add short audio tracts that will rotate every few months.

“Those (sound bites) will address my positions or thoughts on current issues” that affect Realtors, he said.

Candidates for NAR office are vetted and interviewed by the powerful Nominating Committee, which is comprised of the two immediate NAR past-presidents (currently Martin Edwards and Cathy Whatley), two additional past-presidents and one representative from each of NAR’s 13 regions across the country.

Gaylord and Boring will appear before the committee during the next NAR midyear governance meetings in May 2004 in Washington D.C. The committee will present its preferred slate of candidates in November and at that time indicate whether other candidates also are deemed qualified for NAR office.

The two candidates for the NAR 2007 presidency, Pat Vredevoogd and Pat Kaplan, also have campaign Web sites. Vredevoogd won the nod of the Nominating Committee in November 2003. Kaplan’s supporters are circulating a petition to include her name on the ballot as well.

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