Tuesday, October 15, 2019

An Update on 2020 Colorado Republican Delegate Allocation

Last week, FHQ pointed out in a post that, under its at-the-time rules, the Colorado Republican Party had a 2020 delegate allocation problem. The party in March adopted at its state convention a set of delegate allocation rules that eliminated a proportional option and substituted a winner-take-all allocation option for it. The latter would not be compliant with national party rules because of the Super Tuesday date of the Colorado presidential primary. It falls too early for a party to conduct a winner-take-all allocation.

As a result, Colorado Republicans would be vulnerable to the 50 percent delegation reduction penalty for conducting a winner-take-all primary too early (prior to March 15).

In other words, something had to give if Colorado Republicans wanted a full delegation to attend the Republican National Convention in Charlotte next year. And something did happen late in the window to make rules changes before the October 1 deadline for state parties to finalize delegate selection plans for 2020. The Colorado Republican Party state central committee met on September 21 and passed a series of amendments affecting the delegate selection process.

Article XIII had the non-compliant winner-take-all option removed and replaced with a couple of contingencies. If the primary is late enough or a candidate receives enough support in the primary, then that candidate is eligible for all of the delegates from the Centennial state. The former accounts for timing of the primary, but also establishes a minimum threshold for triggering a winner-take-all allocation (regardless of timing). Under the new rules, if a candidate receives 50 percent or more of the vote, then the winner-take-all trigger is tripped.

That rule stands regardless: a majority winner in the Colorado presidential primary gets all of the delegates regardless of timing. However, if no candidate reaches that winner-take-all threshold (and the primary is early), then a proportional means of allocation is instituted. To qualify for delegates under this contingency, the new rules call for candidates to have received 20 percent or more of the vote; the highest qualifying threshold allowed under RNC rules.

Both the addition of the winner-take-all contingency and the new qualifying threshold under the proportional option bring the Colorado Republican Party back into compliance with RNC rules. And both are set to points that nearly guarantee that Trump will win all of the delegates from the state. Both changes also bring Colorado in line with the delegate allocation rules in most other states on Super Tuesday.

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