Outline of a contested convention: Part I

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Good day fellow Republicans. I usually use this format to discuss political news for local, state and national venues. However, with the current run for President being foremost in most of our minds I will take the opportunity to explain what a contested convention is and how it is conducted.
A contested convention is when there is no candidate with enough delegate votes to grasp the nomination by the time the convention convenes. The convention for this presidential election cycle is to be held in July in Cleveland, Ohio. In order to grasp the nomination the candidate must have 1,237 of the 2,472 delegates, which have been won through state caucuses or primaries. Caucuses and primaries are methods that political parties use to select candidates for a general election. A primary is a state level election where party members choose a candidate. A caucus is a system of local gatherings where voters decide which candidates to support and select delegates for nominating conventions. A primary is a statewide voting process in which voters cast ballots for their chosen candidates. A caucus is held in a public forum where everyone knows who you are supporting (usually by a show of hands) and a primary is held like a regular election where ballots are cast in secret (factcheck.org).
Donald Trump has 845 delegates as of April 22, 2016. Ted Cruz has 559 and John Kasich has 148. If one candidate fails to secure the remaining delegates during the remaining primaries, the Republican convention could be contested. A contested convention consists of rounds of voting, the first round is an initial vote. Delegates are required to vote for the candidate who they voted for during their state’s caucus/primary. However, some states have different rules, but in almost every case this is the regulation. The states which do not abide by those rules are Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and a few from Louisiana (en.m.wikipedia.org). Many states allow for individual delegate votes while some states are winner-take-all states. Florida is a winner-take-all state, which in the caucus the majority winner was Trump. This was one of the main catalysts to Rubio withdrawing, as he could not claim any delegates from his home state.
There are several caveats that can upturn some of these rules and could turn the convention into chaos. First and foremost the rules of the convention can be changed at the convention. The convention rules committee with the 100 percent delegate approval would allow each delegate to choose to vote for any candidate they wish in the first round of voting. Logically this is an unlikely scenario since a vote of approval is required by all of the convention delegates. A more likely scenario would be that no one candidate will have the 1,237 delegates required to take the convention outright. We will have the answer to that after the June 7 primaries. See next Wednesday’s Item for part two of this column.

By Bonnie Holland

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