Tag Archives: RNC

NEFF: The Republican Party’s Delegate Allocation Process Is Totally Bonkers

By Blake Neff – The hotly contested GOP nomination has brought increased attention to the intricacies of primary and caucus rules. While many people are aware of winner-take-all and proportional delegate states, the way Republicans allocate delegates has many bizarre quirks that have largely escaped notice, which could have major consequences in a close election season that could end with a contested convention.

Here’s six of the weirdest quirks about the Republican nomination process, discovered with the help of The Green Papers, an extremely detailed database of primary election information created by Richard Berg-Andersson.

1. The GOP’s rules heavily reward small Republican-controlled states.

Much like the Electoral College itself, the Republican primary process allocates delegates by states, but not in proportion to population. The largest state, California, has 172 delegates, but every state also has a minimum of 16 delegates, meaning the largest state only has about 10 times the delegates of the smallest state, even though California is over 40 times the size of several small states like Wyoming, Vermont and Delaware.

The skew can be even greater because states can receive a fixed number of bonus delegates for electing Republicans to various offices. Having a Republican governor is worth one extra delegate, as is each Republican senator, and having a majority-Republican house delegation. States also get a bonus delegate if one of their state legislative houses is Republican-controlled, and a second bonus delegate if all state legislative houses are Republican-controlled. Since these six bonus delegates are fixed regardless of a state’s size, they boost the relative importance of small states far more than they increase the relevance of large ones.

2. Electoral votes matter, but in an odd way.

In addition to rewarding states that have Republican officeholders, the Republican National Committee also rewards states that voted Republican in the most recent presidential election. But once again, the reward is calculated in an odd way that heavily favors smaller states.

Instead of giving states a delegate boost equal to their electoral vote total, states that voted Republican in 2012 are rewarded a bonus delegate count based on the following formula: 4.5 + (0.6 x [2012 electoral vote total]).

So, for example, Indiana voted Republican in 2012 and had 11 electoral votes, so it receives a bonus of 12 delegates, since 4.5 + (11 x 0.6) = 11.1 (all fractions round up).

This mathematical formula heavily favors small states over large ones. States with only three electoral votes receive a bonus of seven delegates, more than twice their electoral vote count, while Texas’s 38 electoral votes produce just 28 bonus delegates.

The two different sets of bonuses, for elected officials and electoral votes, have the effect of giving small but heavily Republican states a tremendous degree of power compared to large but Democratic ones. Wyoming, for instance, voted Republican in 2012 and is dominated by Republicans at both the state and federal level. Since it received every bonus delegate possible, the state has 29 delegates to the Republican convention. California, the country’s largest state but one that received no bonus delegates, has 172 delegates. In other words, California has only about six times as many delegates as Wyoming, even though California is 70 times the size of Wyoming. Wyoming actually has more delegates than Oregon, a state with seven times as many people.

3. Tiny U.S. territories are ridiculously overrepresented.

While U.S. territories can’t vote in national elections, the Republican and Democratic parties both give them delegates for nominating presidential candidates. Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest delegate win, in fact, came from picking up all 23 of Puerto Rico’s delegates.

But Puerto Rico isn’t the only U.S. territory. The Republican Party also gives nine delegates each to Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Sure, nine delegates isn’t a lot. But it’s an incredible amount for their population figures, none of which surpass 200,000 people. With 52,000 people, the Northern Mariana Islands (which Donald Trump won March 15) have one delegate for every 5,800 people (Wyoming, by contrast, has a delegate for every 20,000 people), and the others aren’t far behind. In fact, each of the four small territories has more delegates per person than any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.

4. While Republican states are overpowered, at the district level, Democratic districts have an advantage.

Slightly over half of all GOP delegates are allocated based on congressional district, with each of the country’s 435 congressional districts getting three delegates apiece. States are allowed to choose how these delegates are allocated. Some states, like Florida, award all their delegates based on the statewide vote. But in some states like California and South Carolina, the district-level delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis to the winner of each congressional district.

This arrangement can have the peculiar effect of reducing the power of Republican voters in heavily Republican districts while increasing the power of those in Democratic districts. For example, California’s 23rd congressional district gave over 60 percent of its vote to Mitt Romney in 2012, the most of any district in the state. The 13th district, on the other hand, is almost devoid of Republicans, with only 9 percent of its voters backing Romney. But both will choose three delegates to the Republican convention, even though the 23rd district has about six times as many Republican voters.

In other words, in at least some states, Republicans stuck in heavily or even overwhelmingly Democratic districts have substantially increased voting power in the Republican race.

5. One state never actually lets people vote for a presidential choice.

While specific rules vary dramatically from state to state, in the vast majority of jurisdictions Republicans hold either a primary or caucuses that let people express support for a particular candidate, either by directly voting for them or by selecting delegates who have pledged to support them if elected.

But one state breaks that mold. North Dakota holds a series of party caucuses but instead of choosing presidential candidates, participants solely select delegates to attend the state party convention, held in early April. At that convention, attendees will select 28 delegates to the national convention, but these delegates stand out because they will be totally unbound from the first ballot and can vote for whomever they want. Potential delegates may promise to vote for a certain candidate, but they are fully empowered to change their minds.

Colorado and Wyoming aren’t quite as freewheeling as North Dakota, but they come close. Both states also choose delegates at a state convention, but potential delegates are required to declare a candidate preference at the convention and are bound by their choices. However, a person can state their choice as “uncommitted,” and if elected they will go to the national convention unbound to anybody.

Pennsylvania and Illinois have the strangest rules of all. In Pennsylvania, its 17 statewide delegates will be bound by its primary result, but its 54 district delegates will be directly elected, and unbound going into the national convention. Illinois will also have directly elected district-level delegates, but will only be unbound if they run as an “unbound” candidate; if they have declared for a candidate they are required to back them.

6. Some Republicans just don’t get to vote at all.

Wyoming, like other states, uses a caucus system to choose some of its delegates. But the state has an unusual set-up, where 12 of its 29 delegates are chosen at various county-level caucuses while the remainder are picked at a statewide convention. Wyoming has 23 counties, so counties are divided up into pairs while Laramie County, the largest in the state, stands alone.

Instead of having each county pair pick a delegate, the state takes a more oddball route. Within each pair, one county’s voters elect the actual delegate to the convention, while the other county selects an alternate (who won’t be able to vote unless the original delegate becomes unavailable). Which county chooses the delegate and which chooses the alternate switches each election cycle, but nevertheless, each election cycle about half the state simply loses its ability to directly choose a delegate.

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Ben Carson Threatens to Leave GOP if Leaders Engage in ‘Back Room Deals’

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson repeated his threat to leave the GOP on Sunday, claiming that he was “out of here” if Republican leaders were going to engage in “back room deals.”

More than 20 Republican officials reportedly met last week at a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to discuss the possibility of “a brokered convention” if billionaire mogul Donald Trump emerges as the GOP nominee, according to a report from the Washington Post.

A brokered convention, where delegates would select the GOP nominee for 2016 through a vote on the convention floor in Cleveland, would only occur if the leading GOP candidate “failed to win a simple majority of 2,472 delegates by the time the final state primary contests complete in June of next year.”

Carson responded on Friday, claiming that “if the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described” in the report.

[pull_quote_center]These are the kinds of things that have resulted in the very corrupt system that has no integrity. And it’s why people don’t trust government anymore. We need to get away from that.[/pull_quote_center]

Carson went on to suggest that he would consider leaving the GOP if the report proved to be true, due to the fact that he believes such meetings are “the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters.”

“If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party,” Carson said. “I pray that the report in The Post this morning was incorrect. If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Is Ben Carson the Latest Victim of Flawed Media Investigations?]

During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, Carson was asked if he was “prepared to make good on that threat.”

“Well, one of the reasons that I got into this is because I heard the frustration in the people who are so tired of back room deals, of subterfuge, of dishonesty,” Carson replied. “And, you know, if that is the case, then you know I’m out of here.”

Carson claimed that he has “subsequently spoken to Reince Priebus,” who assured him that the kind of meeting described was a routine meeting, and that “the last thing they would do is engage in back room dealing.”

“But, you know, the jury is out,” Carson concluded. “We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on things.”

On Friday, Carson said he has no intention of running as an independent candidate if he is to drop out of the GOP race. “I have no intention of running as an Independent,” he said. “But I certainly don’t want to be part of the corruption.”

For more election coverage, click here.

Exclusive: Interview with The Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry

Is the Republican Party ready to accept gay marriage?

One group is spearing heading an effort to reform the national Republican Party platform on marriage to do just that.

The group, Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which started in 2012, has backed ballot measures for marriage equality in four states. Now, the more than 60 members hope to convince state Republicans, especially national delegates, that opposing gay marriage is a losing issue for the Republican Party.

Now the group is touring the Presidential primary states leading up to the Republican National Convention to meet with like-minded GOP activists and elected official to discuss their campaign.

The group visited South Carolina where Ed J. Lopez spoke with BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook. So far the group has already visited New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada.

During the 2012 presidential primaries, Lopez served as a member of the Leadership Council at Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and on former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s New Hampshire State Steering Committee. He is also the national Vice Chairperson of the Republican Liberty Caucus, as group trying to influence the GOP to embrace free markets, low taxes and individual liberties.

“One reason I’m really passionate about the issue is that we have found that it is a gateway issue for a lot of people that would otherwise vote Republican,” said Lopez.

He also said that ⅔ of Republicans under the age of 40 support gay marriage. And that 52 percent of Republicans 50 and younger also support the freedom to marry.

“There is movement and momentum in that direction,” he explained. “That’s the bottom line.”

Lopez said that unless the Republican Party follows suit that they’re building barriers in front of new membership.

The problem, he said, with the GOP platform is that its chosen and shaped by very few people. The group hopes to help people become delegates for the national convention, which could help the seachange.

“We’re looking to get new blood in there,” he added. “And making sure that the language of the platform is reflective of what we feel most Republicans embrace or are being to embrace.”

He said the all language that could appear homophobic should be removed.

This issue, Lopez said, is mostly settled in the public eye with more and more states allowing gay marriage.

“If the GOP is not willing to make the change to the platform it may make the GOP irrelevant,” he added.

To listen to Joshua Cook’s full interview with Lopez, below:

Ex-RNC Chair Michael Steele Calls Rand Paul 2016 GOP Presidential Frontrunner

The 2014 midterm elections are underway today, which means that the 2016 presidential contest unofficially begins tomorrow. While most political strategists say that the 2016 Democratic primary is Hillary Clinton’s to lose, the GOP side is competitive and packed with rising stars. One such star, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, was just named Time‘s most interesting person of 2014.

On the November 2, 2014 episode of NBC‘s Meet the Presshost Chuck Todd, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, and former Obama administration press secretary Robert Gibbs participated in a round-table discussion on the 2016 presidential race. In the above-embedded video clip from the show, Robert Gibbs said, “I will say, as a Democrat sitting here, you have to be impressed with what Rand Paul is saying, to have a positive talking point before the election I think is hugely important, and I think Jeb Bush is one to watch.”

When Chuck Todd asked Michael Steele for his pick for the 2016 Republican frontrunner, Steele said, “Rand Paul… Right there. Done. He’s got the organization on the ground right now. He’s in all 50 states. He’s got young folks gravitating towards him. He’s got African Americans taking a pause and looking at him. He’s got, as was just acknowledged, Democrats are starting, ‘OK, let’s listen and see.'”

Andrea Mitchell interjected, “But the party establishment is against him.”

Steele replied, “That’s a separate piece. I think in terms of ’14, he’s done the best to put it together.”

Joe Scarborough disagreed, saying, “Rand Paul is going to run a great race. He’s going to do better than his father. He’s not going to win, because mainstream Republicans win, and you’ve got two choices that we’ve talked about here, Jeb or Chris Christie. But no, who had the best 2014? Without a doubt, Mitt Romney.”

Senator Paul also appeared on last Sunday’s Meet the Press to discuss the 2014 midterms, criminal justice reform, and repairing the GOP’s brand. The Washington Post notes that the Senator is the “go-to Republican for 2014 candidates trying to rally a crowd, raise money and court the tea-party activists and young people drawn to his insurgent message.” Rand Paul has been aggressively campaigning in an effort to help Republicans maintain their House majority and flip the Senate.

The Senator has sent signals that, if he decides to run for president in 2016, he might declare his candidacy in early 2015. As it happens, Senator Paul recently announced an early 2015 release date for his third book.

Open Letter to the RNC and Iowa GOP Chairman AJ Spiker

A.J. Spiker, Chairman of the Iowa Republican Party is under fire, mostly for being a Ron Paul supporter.  6 County Central Committees have called for this resignation and have received a great deal of media coverage in Iowa.  One Central Committee has now stepped forward to support Spiker and media isn’t talking about.  Here is their open letter:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rick Holman Dubuque County GOP Chairman
(563)451-6110

November 11th, 2013

Open Letter to the RNC and Iowa GOP Chairman AJ Spiker

On behalf of the Dubuque County, Iowa Republican Party Central Committee, we would like to first of all commend our state party chairman, Mr. AJ Spiker for his continued resolve to support and uphold the conservative principles found both in our state party platform and the national party platform. While government at all levels continues to grow, encroaching upon the personal liberties of its citizens through increasing regulations, taxation and an assault on the Bill of Rights, our State Chairman is working to defend our freedom here in Iowa. He hereby has earned our faith, trust and full support in his duties as our State Chairman.

Secondly, we would like to voice our concerns with the RNC that, increasingly, show lack of support for conservative candidates in recent elections, both general and primary. It appears Republican leaders are often no longer willing to support and uphold the principles found in the National party platform. Increasingly, the party leadership seems to be favoring politically “establishment” candidates who will not, and do not, faithfully adhere to or defend our conservative principles. They ignore our party platform – even as republicans work to select Constitutional, conservative candidates through the primary and caucus process. Some examples are the recent Governor’s race in Virginia, the Senate races in Delaware, Colorado, Alaska, and Nevada in 2010. The Senate races in Indiana and Missouri in 2012, and the Presidential races of 2008 and 2012. The recent Virginia example is especially troubling. The RNC failed to aggressively support the campaign of Cuccinelli because he was a so-called Tea Party candidate. Republican establishment all but handed the election to Mr. McAuliffe. Yes, establishment Republican Party leaders helped elect a Democrat bundler as the Governor of the state of Virginia.

Thirdly, where was the RNC during the recent efforts by Congress to defund Obamacare during the process to secure a cloture? The RNC should have been doing everything possible in terms of educating the public to the fact that it was Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats along with President Obama that caused, and should have owned the “Shut Down.” Even by defeating the closure process, republicans and sensible Democrats could have offered amendments to the ACA that would have possibly saved millions of Americans from losing their health insurance. Instead, they allowed the 26 Republican Senators who refused to stand with Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Charles Grassley and 16 other Senate conservatives to provide the President and his socialist allies everything they wanted. In addition, it’s ridiculous allowing individuals like Karl Rove, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsay Graham to more or less speak for the GOP. These people and their “establishment” colleagues do not represent the Republican Party Platform, let alone the Tea Party. Something must be done to counter their message of Government control. They seem to be more willing to spend time, energy, and effort in attacking fellow Republicans than they do fighting against the Democrat agenda. We implore the RNC to support our candidates that will stand by our platform.

Respectfully,
Dubuque County Republican Party Central Committee
Chairman: Rick Holman
Co-Chair: Jennifer Smith

Submitted by Central Committee member Karl Stieglitz
Seconded by Central Committee member Jacob Long
Resolution Passed Unanimously 24-0

RNC Subcommittee Meets this Week to Consider 2016 Presidential Election Changes

By guest contributor Nicole Revels

A newly-formed subcommittee of the RNC Committee on Rules will hold their first meeting this Friday in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee is charged with considering some of the most controversial aspects of the Rules of the Republican Party, those affecting the 2016 Presidential Primary process. Discussions will include the topics of state election timing guidelines and the delegate selection process.

The formation of the subcommittee was announced during the August meeting of the RNC, at which point it was explained by Rules Committee Chairman Bruce Ash that the subcommittee’s function would be to discuss amendments to primary-affecting RNC rules, and submit a report of amendment suggestions for a vote before the entire RNC Standing Committee on Rules.

Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri, a member of the new subcommittee on rules, says that the purpose of the subcommittee is efficiency in the consideration of the hotly-debated primary election rules. “You have 50 people on the rules committee, every state has (a representative). I would say that’s probably an unwieldy number, to sit there and go back & forth on a regular basis. You’re talking about monthly meetings that may become weekly meetings,” says Munisteri. “As a practical matter, I don’t know how practical it is to try to get 50 people together once a week or once every couple of weeks.”

Morton Blackwell, a long-standing member of the RNC rules committee, opposed the formation of the subcommittee, concerned that the process could lead to a consolidation of decision-making. Blackwell stating during the summer meeting, “It is perfectly feasible for the committee to deal with each issue separately. It is not the custom of this committee to come up with an omnibus set of changes derived by some group other than the entire membership of the Standing Committee on Rules.”

Blackwell warned rule committee members, “It is entirely possible that (the subcommittee) is going to come up with a report which will have many different portions offered, some of which will be very offensive and thought to be very wrong by many people on this committee, and then we will be told that there are some elements of this that you like, and if you want to get those things that you like, you have to vote for those things that you think are bad for the Republican Party. I think that under any circumstance, issues should be considered individually.”

Suspicions have stigmatized the RNC rules debate ever since the 2012 Republican National Convention, in which many delegates felt shut-out during the debate and passage of the 2012 rules. Jeremy Blosser, a 2012 Republican National Delegate, is skeptical of claims by Chairman Ash that the discussions this week will be conducted with transparency.

“The RNC is continuing a pattern of promising transparency and delivering the opposite,” says Blosser. “Forming a subcommittee to consider rules issues has some merit, but … we were told the discussions would be open and transparent.” Blosser plans to observe this week’s meeting, but says he has not yet received confirmation that he will be admitted into the room. “These conversations are critical to the future of the party … they have to stop trying to close the doors.”

Munisteri, who has a reputation among Republican Party activists for transparency advocacy, also hopes that the process will be open, “I think Tampa made it particularly important that we try not to do things behind closed doors unless it’s absolutely necessary because there’s already a climate of suspicion among some and we need not to do anything to foster that suspicion.”

Event page for following activists attending subcommittee meeting https://www.facebook.com/events/1413532492209125/?fref=ts