RNC to NV GOP: pick delegates our way, or else! A direct threat to Ron Paul's people. Can they do that?
Last night the Republican National Committee sent an astounding letter to Michael McDonald, head of the Nevada Republican Party. (The Las Vegas Sun got a copy; see also this article from The Hill..)
John R. Philippe Jr, the general counsel, warned McDonald not to try to
“un-bind” the delegates from Mitt Romney or any of the others. Mitt
Romney won 50 percent of the primary vote, Newt Gingrich 21 percent, Ron Paul about 19 percent, and Rick Santorum 10 percent. Thus Romney has
14 delegates, Gingrich 6, Paul 5, and Santorum 3. Gingrich and Santorum
have each suspended their campaigns, so the RNC seems to believe that
Mitt Romney should get 20 delegates, and Paul 5. (The last 3 delegates
are superdelegates; they may vote for whom they please.)
Lawyer Philippe also demanded something new: that McDonald let “authorized representatives” of the candidates vet
any delegates pledged to vote for them. If not, said Philippe, a
candidate could “contest” the selection. Philippe then went further: if
the Nevada Republican Party does not do exactly as he says, then Convention officials might refuse to seat any delegates from Nevada.
CNAV reviewed the Rules of the Republican Party. Not one word
in them says, or implies, that State conventions may not appoint
delegates as they see fit, so long as the delegates know that they must
vote for particular candidates on the first ballot. The rules say that
State conventions shall appoint, assign, and bind delegates according to
State law and their own rules, so long as those rules do not conflict
with national rules. A delegate or alternate must be eligible to vote in
Republican primaries or take part in Republican caucuses. These rules
say nothing about candidates sending “authorized representatives” to vet delegates or alternates.
The RNC knows that Ron Paul’s supporters took over the Massachusetts
convention and appointed several delegates pledged to vote for Romney on
the first ballot but loyal to Ron Paul on second, third, or later
ballots. They want to avoid another Massachusetts in Nevada. The
question is: by what authority does “National” tell a State convention that they must let candidates vet State convention picks for delegates or alternates?
Philippe also clearly implied that he expects Mitt Romney to inherit
the delegates that Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich would have gotten. But
Rick Santorum never endorsed Romney. Newt Gingrich made a long, rambling speech in which he might have endorsed Romney, but even that was not clear.
See Votes by State