Monday, September 7, 2015

Wyoming Republicans Aiming for March 1 Caucuses in 2016

During past cycles, the Wyoming Republican Party has selected delegates to the national convention through a caucus/convention process. In that respect, the mode of delegate selection will not change in 2016. However, changes to the national party rules forced the Wyoming Republican Party to entertain alterations to its standard protocol; changes that came to fruition during the party's July state central committee meeting.

There has been some talk recently about the move made by the Republican Party in Colorado to strip out the presidential preference vote from the precinct caucuses stage of its caucus/convention system. That change is viewed as significant if not controversial because it seemingly renders the precinct caucuses stage meaningless. But that has tended to be the exact same thing that neighboring Wyoming Republicans have done in the past. Across the northern border of Colorado, Wyoming Republicans have typically held early precinct caucuses to select delegates to move on to and participate in county conventions. It has been at that second level -- the second step in the caucus/convention process -- where Wyoming Republicans have conducted a presidential preference vote. That vote, in turn, has selected roughly half of the Equality state's delegates to the Republican National convention. The other portion of delegates are elected at the later state convention.

But 2016 will be different for Wyoming Republicans.

Again, the tinkering that the RNC has done to the national party delegate selection rules has sent some state parties scrambling in an attempt to maintain or come back into compliance. That has led to action on the state level that reveals some variance in the interpretation of the national party rules. In Wyoming's case, state party bylaws permit the party to hold a "straw poll" -- presidential preference vote -- in January or February. Since those types of votes are required now by the national party rules to bind delegates to particular candidates, a January or February vote would place Wyoming in violation of the Republican National Committee rules.

To come out from under the shadow of sanctions from the national party, Wyoming Republicans have opted to schedule their precinct caucuses on March 1 and to conduct a straw poll -- presidential preference vote -- at that stage. Delegate candidates for the county conventions -- on Saturday, March 12 -- will be required to state their candidate preferences at the precinct stage.

What does all this mean?

For starters, there is a date on which the Wyoming Republican Party delegate selection process will begin: March 1. Also, though, we can glean from this action that the state party felt compelled to move everything -- every step of the caucus/convention process -- beyond the February/March line between carve-out states and the beginning of the proportionality window. In other words, unlike Colorado, Wyoming Republicans perceived a need to move the precinct caucus stage (with a straw poll vote) out of the carve-out state window for 2016. The new binding requirement from the RNC and stiffer penalties for contests starting before March 1 prompted Wyoming Republicans to delay the start of their delegate selection process until March.

Compared to 2012, the 2016 Wyoming Republican Party will begin its delegate selection process in March and with a binding straw poll vote.

A tip of the cap to Liberty News for flagging the central committee changes for FHQ.

Follow FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

No comments: