Saturday, May 14, 2011

Moving Caucuses to March on the Rules Changes Agenda at Hawaii GOP Convention

The Republican Party of Hawaii is holding its annual state convention this weekend and on the agenda is a rules change regarding the selection of delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa next year. Previously, the party had opted to abandon the May state convention as the primary means of allocating delegates in favor of earlier precinct caucuses. When that decision was made back in 2009, the party had chosen the third Tuesday in February -- to coincide with Hawaii Democrats' 2008 caucus date -- for those caucuses. In the time since, however, the Republican delegate selection rules for 2012 have made that date a violation, and now the state party's convention agenda has a move to March as part of the proceedings.

According to the second paragraph of Part D (Delegates to the National Republican Convention), Section 214 (Election):
Hawaii Republican caucuses shall be held on the second Tuesday in March of each Presidential Election Year.
Currently, only Mississippi and Utah's Democratic caucuses are scheduled on the date a week after the proposed Super Tuesday (earliest possible date to hold contests according to the national party rules, and when the largest group of states typically clusters) on March 6.

The Hawaii Republican Party becomes the first party in a traditional Republican caucus state to make any overt move toward scheduling its 2012 delegate selection event. Republican state parties are not faced with the same deadline to submit delegate selection plan drafts to the national party as is the case on the Democratic side. That May 2 deadline is what has provided FHQ with the bulk of the Democratic caucus dates for 2012. Absent that deadline on the Republican side, state parties have been slower to act. But Hawaii has likely become the first to act.

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