Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Indiana

This is the thirty-fourth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


It really is a shame that the competitive portion of the Republican presidential nomination race did not stretch into May and the Indiana primary. In a year in which unique state-level rules have been under the microscope, the Hoosier state offered not a unique variation of proportional or winner-take-all rules, but an uncommon combination of contest types and allocation rules.

Indiana delegate breakdown:
  • 46 total delegates
  • 16 at-large delegates
  • 27 congressional district delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
At-large allocation:
The process of selecting/electing the 16 at-large delegates is perhaps what sets the Indiana Republican Party delegate allocation method apart from other similar methods the most. Like both Illinois and Pennsylvania, Indiana Republican voters will directly elect delegates. Unlike the two previous loophole primaries, these delegates are not delegates to the national convention but to the state convention. Those primary-elected state convention delegates will in turn elect the 16 at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The twist, if there is need for another one, is that, like Pennsylvania, Indiana Republicans will place a blind vote for state convention delegates. The candidate affiliation -- if there is one -- of each of the delegates is not listed on the ballot. As FHQ discussed during the description of the Pennsylvania process, this tends to favor the front-running or establishment candidate the most because they have typically been able to corner the market on well-known elected (or formerly elected) officials who voters have tended to gravitate towards in these instances. It should additionally be noted that these delegates will vote on the at-large delegate recommendations from the state committee -- most likely in the form of a slate of delegates rather than individually -- as opposed to directly electing delegates from among those chosen on the primary ballot (see Chapter 9, Section 302).

Congressional district allocation:
The three delegates apportioned to each of Indiana's nine congressional districts will be allocated winner-take-all based on the primary vote within each congressional district. This is not entirely clear in the rules of the Indiana Republican Party (see Chapter 9, Section 29).2 There is no explicit mention of winner-take-all allocation within the rules. However, the RNC has interpreted the allocation as winner-take-all based on the primary vote and the rules on the state level have not been altered between cycles (see Chapter 9, Section 31 (2010)) and also Chapter 9. Section 31 (2008)). The elections at the congressional district meetings will be based on the recommendations of the district congressional committees.

Automatic delegate allocation:
The Indiana Republican State Committee meets and chooses a national committeeman and committeewoman outside of the state convention but before the Republican National Convention (see Chapter 10, Sections 3-5). However, those selected for these posts do not assume office until after the national convention in Tampa. That means that the current national committeeman and committeewoman will serve alongside the Indiana Republican Party chair as automatic delegates to the convention. Furthermore, all three delegates are unbound and free to choose a candidate of their preference.

The bottom line with the Indiana Republican Party method of delegate allocation is that there are a fair number of party-level filters through which the process has to progress. All of the delegates are selected based on the recommendations of party committees. Now, does that preclude any parliamentary/procedural maneuvers at, say, a state or district convention to override the recommendations of the respective party committees? Yes. The rules provide for an undebateable and unamendable motion to accept those recommendations, but if the motion is defeated then the process goes to the floor.

1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 Indiana Republican Party Rules (see Chapter 9, Section 29 and Section 30):2012 Indiana Republican Party Rules3.9.12

Recent Posts:
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Question Time: How Much Leverage Does Ron Paul Still Have?

Question Time: What Happens to Santorum's Delegates?

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