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Selecting National Convention Delegates

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Most of the time, Washington State has had a caucus based system for selecting delegates to the national Republican and Democratic conventions. I happen to like that system and participate in it.


I was active as a Democrat from 1968-1980. This year is the first time I've participated in the Republican caucus system, though I've been a Republican since 1984.


The two methods of both parties are very similar.


I was elected as a delegate at my Republican precinct caucus in early March. That entitles me to attend the legislative district caucus and Congressional district caucus.


The Congressional district caucus selects most of the delegates to the Republican National Convention. So I'll have a vote in deciding who goes to that convention.


The legislative district convention decides who will be selected to attend the Washington State Republican Convention. The legislative district convention will be held Saturday, and the chances are good I will be selected as a delegate to the state convention. The state convention elects several delegates to go to the National convention as well, and I would be participating in electing those people if I'm a delegate to the state convention.


Last night I was at a caucus of Santorum supporters. Santorum announced he is suspending his campaign, but he wants to maximize his delegates at the National convention.


We discussed joining with Gingrich and Ron Paul delegates to choose a slate of delegates to the state convention consisting only of Gingrich, Ron Paul and Santorum delegates which would send no Mitt Romney delegates to the state convention.


A slate of delegates from all three campaigns would be selected, and everyone encouraged to vote for that slate. So everyone would be voting for Santorum, Ron Paul and Gingrich delegates to go to the state convention. If that slate attracts a sufficient number of votes, all those delegates would go to the state convention.


If you like politics, this is an interesting process.


Anyone else involved in this kind of grass roots political campaigning these days?

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I hear the same thing is happening in North Dakota, Iowa, Maine, and Missouri.


The one that seems to benefit most from that is Paul, with Santorum and Romney losing their projected shares of delegates.

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At least in my legislative district, the joint slate of Santorum, Gingrich and Paul delegates is proposing to share delegates and alternates in proportion to the Presidential candidate preferences.


So variations in preferences would be preserved as delegates to the National Convention are selected should this method continue to be used.


We'll see what actually happens though.


I'm told Republicans at state conventions can be real Party Animals!




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Very interesting SP. Please keep us posted on how it all plays out for you. Our system here in NJ is much more mundane, just a primary that chooses delegates by Congessional District and then I think those delegates elect some statewide delegates, or at least that's how it was the last time I checked, which was not this year. That's for the Democrats, the Republicans may do it slightly differently, but it's a primary for both parties.

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Massachusetts also has a primary and awards delegate votes based on the results of the primary. There are then state party conventions that decide who those delegates will be. The actual people that will go national convention. Who they will vote for has already been decided by the primary. I'm generally under the assumption these appointments are determines the way most political selections are made...it's based on who you are related to and/or how much $$ you have donated to the party or lead candidate.





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Many years back I wanted to run to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, but learned, to my great distress, that the party practiced gender quotas in delegate selection. . . which effectively cancelled out my possibilities. I felt then, and do now, that such things are wrong. What was especially egregious is that the party had never discriminated against women in the past, and, indeed, had had female convention delegates well before women even had the right to vote!

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My legislative district caucus was held Saturday.


The "Open Convention" slate of Santorum, Ginfrich and Paul triumphed, electing all 16 delegates and 16 alternates to the state convention, where delegates to the National Republican Convention will be elected.


The Romney supporters had a slate of party regulars which was shut out of electing any delegates or alternates.


If you don't have a taste for political theater, you would probably find this boring, especially if you were on the losing side.


The Santorum, Gingrich and Paul delegates shared in putting delegates on the slate. I was elected as a Santorum delegate.


One woman was on the Open Convention slate as a Santorum supporter. She got up to announce that she was switching to supporting Romney. She was immediately replaced on the Open Convention slate, which required almost everyone to get new ballots. She lost as a delegate to the state convention AS A RESULT of her speech!


Too bad Paul, Gingrich and Santorum couldn't have found ways to cooperate on the campaign trail and minimized Romney's influence. Their grass roots supporters were more effective in that than the candidates themselves.


Perhaps if those three campaigns had announced support of a joint slate of conservative voters they could have displaced Romney's influence.


The Washington State Republican Convention will be electing delegates to the national convention June 2nd. I will have the honor to be voting on who will be making the trip. I would suppose that an Open Convention slate will duke it out for control of delegate selection.


It should be an interesting and exciting day of politics!








(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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I find it fascinating. Of course, I majored in political science, have basically been a "politics junkie" since I was in 9th grade or so, and served on my local school board at one time.


SP, do you have a chance at being elected to be an RNC delegate yourself?

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A CHANCE? I will be right at the beating heart where the decisions will be made on who the Santorum-Gingrich-Paul Open Convention slate chooses to support for national delagate and alternate positions.


A caucus of state convention delegates for each Congressional district to select three delegates and three alternates to the national convention, plus the convention as a whole selects ten additional delegates and alternates.


Suppose that when the slate is made up, one name on the slate is from each of the three campaigns. Do I have a CHANCE of being named? Well --- sure.


Of course the slate then needs to beat the Romney slate.


So is there a CHANCE? Sure. But I'm sure there are plenty of other eager beavers with that much of a chance or more.



But heck --- the state convention should be fun and interesting. There are a whole series of workshops on the nuts and bolts of political campaigning that are available---


See: http://wsrpconvention.eventbrite.com/


So while it would be great fun to go to the national convention, it's unlikely that I will be making the trip.

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I probably didn't word the question directly enough. I really just meant "Do you think you will be elected to go to the RNC", which you have answered. I didn't mean to focus on the word "chance."


The process does sound like fun, if you're into that sort of thing, which I am.



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SP, as cynical as I can sometimes be, I do applaud your civic involvement. Conservatives in the Republican party may not be a majority, but they are involved and have had a significant impact on the national debate. They more than any other group have taken the political establishment of both parties to task through involvement in the political process.



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This is all so interesting how the delegates are chosen, and more specifically WHY. I have so much to say, and to ask, but you might feel like it's an attack.


I heard that some guy in Oklahoma got some Democratic delegates so that at the Democratic convention he can protest the party's stance regarding abortion. So my related question to you is, why is there going to be a slate of delegates at the Republican convention that does not support the nominee? I'm sure there's a good reason, but nobody has explained it to me yet.

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Just because people are supporting another candidate for the nomination doesn't mean they wont support the nominee, and Mitt Romney in particular.


I plan to support him, and most or all the Gingrich and Santorum delegates plan to do so. Most of the Paul delegates plan to do so, although there may be some who will choose not to do so.


But people aren't OBLIGATED to support the nominee of the party.


My experience has been that the Republican Party has a good deal of agreement on many the political issues, even if there are several different candidates favored by different elements within the party.


Nothing wrong with that.


Last time the Dems split between Obama and Hillary, with the party uniting behind Obama once he was nominated. Same deal.



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Cool, I love discussing politics too, but so many people take offense with just a question. The running joke now is, "How do you make a Democrat squirm and become defensive? Ask him why he is voting for Pres. Obama this time."


Anyway, I'm a bit confused as to why Paul and Gingrich are forming a coalition (Is Santorum still in it?). Paul and Gringrich have nothing in common, considering Paul is a Libertarian trying to get some of the support from Republicans. Which is mostly don't mind because I'm kind of a Libertarian at heart - except for the foreign policy part.


What I really think the plan is, is that Santorum (who hasn't endorsed anybody once he stepped aside), and Gingrich are running for the next nomination - 2016 or 2020, whichever it may be. That's kind of the pattern in Republican nominations.


But that's the root of the problem - if Santorum is running for the next nomination, it's to his advantage if Obama gets re-elected so that Santorum can get the nomination in 2016. Because obviously if Romney gets elected, he's also the nominee for 2016. In fact, if Romney gets elected that sweeps in a whole new crop of Republicans and Santorum might even move farther down the list of next-in-lines.


Note that when I say Santorum, I also include Gingrich. They are setting up a nomination fight for 2016.


So I see a real conflict of interest in Santorum and Gingrich continuing the nomination fight past where Romney is the obvious nominee.


Paul? He's not a serious contender anyway. He's going to stay in the race to the end just to spread the Libertarian gospel, like he did 4 years ago. The shock to me if true, is that his followers are joining forces with two big-government guys.

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