Showing posts with label delegate slates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label delegate slates. Show all posts

Monday, September 30, 2019

At the End of the Calendar, a Tweak to 2020 Montana Republican Delegate Selection

On the surface, there is not much that separates the delegate selection plan Montana Republican used in 2016 and what the party will carry forward into 2020.

Yes, the primary in Treasure state will fall at the end of the Republican presidential primary calendar, and yes, the allocation will remain winner-take-all for the second consecutive cycle. Those toplines are exactly as they were for the last cycle.

However, the overall process is not without some differences relative to 2016. And those changes do not occur in the delegate allocation portion, but on the delegate selection front. The plurality winner in the June 2 presidential primary will receive all of the delegates to the national convention from the state of Montana. But how those delegate slots are filled and by whom is a bit different for 2020.

In 2016, the power to elect/select delegates to the national convention was within the roles and responsibilities of the Montana state convention without any formal input from the candidate and campaign of the primary winner. That will differ from what will occur in 2020.

Under the rules adopted by the Montana Republican Party adopted in June, the convention will retain the role of ratifying who the national convention delegates from the state are, but will defer to the campaign of the presidential primary-winning candidate on identifying a slate of delegates. Instead of holding both roles -- identifying/selecting delegates and ratifying that -- the state convention will now only hold the latter role. The winning candidate's campaign chooses the slate of delegates and then the state convention ratifies that by majority vote. Should that slate fail to receive that ratification from the state convention, then the candidate submits a new slate (or slates) until that majority threshold is met.

Functionally, this would likely cede in 2020 the selection role to the Trump reelection effort, and that slate would be highly likely to pass muster with the delegates to the Montana Republican state convention. This is another example of a subtle shift in state-level rules that could be interpreted as incumbent-friendly.

It is also a rules change that seemingly has a sunset provision in the rules. Section B.III.F.3 of the Montana Republican Party rules is specific to the 2020 cycle. There is no expiration included in the rule, but a change will have to be made to apply this to 2024 or tweak it for that cycle.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Alabama Republicans Nix Changes to 2020 Delegate Selection Process

In the lead up to last month's meeting of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, the party's Bylaws Committee unanimously passed a resolution to rework the way in which national convention delegates are selected.

Traditionally, Alabama delegate candidates -- for both at-large and congressional district positions -- have appeared on the ballot and have been directly elected by Republican presidential primary voters. Like the changes recently made in West Virginia, the proposed change in the selection process would have removed delegate candidates from the primary ballot and shifted the responsibility for selection to the 467 member Executive Committee. While this is certainly a way to streamline and shorten the March primary ballot, it would also give the state party more control over the selection process and likely serve as a boon to President Trump's chances of identifying delegates more closely aligned with him.

However, although the resolution passed the Bylaws Committee with no dissent, there was some pushback from within the party. Opponents of the change balked at the anti-democratic shift in the rules, seeing the change as potentially ceding too much power to the few in the state party.

But at the August 24 meeting of the Executive Committee in Auburn, the party rejected the resolution that emerged from the Bylaws Committee. It was a vote that kept the basic structure under which Alabama Republicans have selected delegates the same.

Now, the lack of change is no real significant loss for President Trump. Yes, there will be less party control over the delegate selection process. Yet, Trump and the campaign apparatus behind him will be maximally positioned compared to his challengers to identify delegate candidates and assist them, individually or as a slate, in filing for ballot access. That will serve as a large enough advantage for the president.

This delegate slate filing issue was highlighted in 2015 when the Jeb Bush campaign had some trouble in filing a full slate of delegate candidates in Alabama, foreshadowing perhaps the difficulties Bush would have later in the 2016 race. Trump likely will not have that problem in 2019 when candidates -- presidential and delegate -- have to file between October 8 and November 8, 2019.

No changes were proposed or made by the party to the delegate allocation process. The 2020 method, then, should look much as it did in 2016.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There's a reason the Santorum campaign didn't mention West Virginia in its delegate conference call last week

If you listened in on or followed the parallel twitter conversation around the Santorum campaign conference call last week on the delegate math, you heard that...
  1. ...the April contests were hardly mentioned and/or...
  2. ...the campaign views May as much friendlier -- delegate-wise -- territory.
To expand on the second point, the Santorum campaign revealed that it is looking ahead/emphasizing contests like North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas. All of those are southern/border states where the Santorum candidacy can or could conceivably resonate with voters. Given the geography/demography of where/who the former Pennsylvania senator has done will in/with, this makes sense.

But do you know which state is missing from the list? West Virginia.


The Mountain state is obviously a state where one could see if not Santorum doing well, then Romney not faring so well (...with Santorum or another candidate doing well by default). [See, for example, below the national average statistics for income and education.] If that happens to be the case, then why is the Santorum campaign not targeting West Virginia. The argument could be made that West Virginia does not represent that big of a delegate haul and with only 28 contested delegates at stake, that's fair. It is not as delegate-rich as any of the above target states.

The main factor hurting Santorum, however, is the same problem his campaign has had elsewhere: ballot access. That is, ballot access not so much for him, but for him both statewide and in each of the congressional districts or with getting delegates on the ballot. In West Virginia, the problem is a combination of the two. Santorum is on the ballot, but like Illinois, that vote is meaningless. Primary voters in West Virginia on May 8 will also directly elect delegates -- both at-large and by congressional district. There are 19 at-large delegate slots in West Virginia. Romney has filed 24 delegates, Gingrich 23 and Paul 19. Santorum has three delegates who his campaign has filed or have both filed and are committed to his candidacy.

Additionally, there are three delegate slots per each of the three West Virginia congressional districts. Romney has filed at least seven delegates in each of the districts, Gingrich has filed at least three delegates in each district (with double that number in one district and over triple the minimum in another), and Paul has filed the minimum full slate of three in each district. Santorum? Well, the former senator filed two delegates in the first congressional district and that is it. He will not have Santorum delegates on the ballot for the congressional district spots in either the second or third congressional district.

Now, to be fair that isn't all she wrote. There are other options at the disposal of Santorum/not Romney supporters. Again, both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have full slates of delegates filed. But there are also a host of uncommitted delegates who have filed as well. There are 42 uncommitted at-large delegates filed statewide and there are seven, 10 and 11 uncommitted delegates filed in the first, second and third congressional districts, respectively. Voters also have the option of writing in names on the West Virginia ballot. The catch with coordinating either uncommitted slate voting and/or a write-in campaign is that that will take campaign organization and discipline to pull off.1

That may be organization/discipline that is more efficiently expended elsewhere -- in more delegate-rich states, for instance -- than in West Virginia. That said, the Mountain state is another one of those potential missed opportunities for Santorum; a place where he could do well, but may have to hope for Gingrich or Paul to exceed expectations to prevent Romney from getting any or many of the delegates from that loophole primary because he -- Santorum -- is not on the ballot. Once again, in an overall sense, this speaks to the difficulty in running an ad hoc campaign organization against a well-organized, well-funded frontrunner; even if it is a nominal frontrunner.

It is tough to play catch up on the fly.

1 Of course, to the extent that uncommitted delegates emerge from these elections, those are free agents that any of the campaigns, Santorum included, can go after.

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