Are nomination time lines/processes different during an election year?


5-Year Member
Nov 28, 2017
Just wondering if anyone has insight into whether MOCs schedule and/or treat the nomination process differently during election years. Obviously Congressmen/women deal with this every the other year but not Senators (and I realize this may depend on whether or not the incumbent is seeking re-election or is in a tightly contested seat). Is it typical practice to kick the nomination can past January to the (possible) new MOC or do MOC's typically take care of the noms before the election? The reason I am asking is that we will be in a very unusual situation this coming November - both senators and congressman are up for re-election (i.e. all of our MOC nom sources except VP - probably can guess our state). Also wondering about how elections themselves "distract" from the interview process.
I honestly don't know, but all our paperwork was required before the 5th of October in PA so that would put it well before the election in the fall... Because they usually have a board to handle the selections, it probably doesn't matter much. The lady that coordinated for our MOC was the same when our District representative changed, and everything went to her rather than the representative anyway...
Offices vary, but last year's timeline and this year's were the same where I am.
Elections do not have an impact at all, unless it is something akin to an MOC leaving office prior to an election cycle. IE years ago in NJ Corey Booker came in via a special election, even than they gave him 5 and the outgoing 5. The election I believe was in Oct. thus it had no real impact on meeting the deadline date. It is the only situation that I can recall where the outgoing and incoming worked together.

The reason why this has no impact are varied.
1. MoC nominations are charged to that seat, not the MoC.
~ IE you will see people saying on their portal Sen A, and not the name. Sen A equates to the senior senator.
2. Nominations are due by Jan 31st.
~ MoCs do not take their oath until the beginning of Jan., thus, until that time the incoming has no voice in anything. It would be too difficult for states like VA where they can easily have 700 candidates to process all of them when they have only been in their position for a few weeks. VA, TX, CA, NY and I believe FL all do what is called "spreading the wealth" or "talking" This means they have so many candidates in their state that to give as many kids a nom as they can, the Cong., and 2 Sens will talk and try to not double nominate any candidate. Yes, sometimes there will be candidates with 2 noms. from those states, but on a whole it is not the norm.
3. In general, the MoC does not sit in on the interview process. The interview board typically consists of people across various backgrounds.. They may have an ALO/BGO/FFR, a state legislator, an alumni that is now working as a Defense contractor, etc. The MoC typically will be in DC doing their job, whereas, the interview is held in your home state.
~ DS interviewed in NC, and the Sen. was not there. He interviewed on Sat. 18 candidates interviewed for a slate of 10, by Tuesday we had a letter in hand stating that he received his nom. It was mailed from his office in NC, not DC. In essence, the Sen. allowed the interviewing committee to make the decision and they just rubber stamped their recommendations.
MOCs who know they are leaving office (retirement) may move up their timelines so as to be sure to get everything completed and submitted before they leave office (which is before the Jan. 31 deadline to submit). If you know your MOC is on the way out, be sure to double check the timelines for this coming year (i.e., don't rely on the deadlines for this past year).

However, other than that, there is no real change. As Pima noted, the MOCs themselves aren't usually involved in the process so no distractions. MOCs who are "unelected" (i.e., voted out of office) turn in their slates before they leave, so those with noms from the outgoing MOC are fine.

The one fly in the ointment is if a MOC passes away or leaves office in the fall b/t the time packets are turned into the MOC and the time the MOC submits nominations to the SA. These are very RARE and individualized issues that depend on a variety of things such as how far along the process was, whether a new MOC has been appointed/elected, whether the new and old are from the same party, etc. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, you need to follow up with the SA coordinator for the legacy MOC and possibly the one for the new MOC -- if there is one -- to see how they are handling it.
If the Member loses re-election they are given the option to continue the process as normal and submit their nominations prior to leaving office. If the outgoing Member only nominates 6 names on a slate the new incoming Member is allowed to add 4 names to the slate should they wish to do so once sworn in, but they cannot change any nominations the leaving Member submitted. The outgoing Member also has the option to cede all responsibility onto the new incoming Member to handle all nominations and can either hand over all applications they've received to allow the new member to make informed decisions or the leaving office may not turn over any of that information and leave the new Member to start the process from scratch on a tight timeline. If this happens the academy will likely give the new Member an extension to submit nominations.

I would recommend applying as normal, but keep an eye on the primary election and general election results. If any of your Members lose their elections I would give that office a few days to let the shock wear off and then email the staff in charge to ask if they know how the process will be handled. They may not have answers yet, but it will prompt them to make those decisions soon. While above posters are correct that Members are not heavily involved in the process, their staff are and those staffers just lost their jobs right along with the Member so try to be sensitive when reaching out.