Texas Precinct Conventions will be OPTIONAL under New 2012 Republican Delegate Selection Process
by David Bellow on February 19, 2012 at 9:07 AM
Update: The New Draft Plan has come out and all counties and senatorial districts will be able to have precinct conventions (if they want) and they can be whenever and wherever the county or senatorial district wants. There is no big conspiracy to keep people from getting involved. Read more here
The Republican Party of Texas is entering into unknown and uncharted territory. We are now faced with having to do our Republican Conventions/Delegate Selection Process BEFORE we even have a primary election! This process has always been tied to the Primary election but this year it will not because of the belated Primary Election (see below for the normal process from previous years). The 62 members of the State Republican Executive Committee will be developing an entire new Convention/Delegate Selection Plan. We have already had a conference call in which we discussed the many different ideas and we agreed on the basic plan. This plan is VERY intricate and has many different moving parts, not to mention our hands are tied in many ways. Over the next 2 weeks, the RPT will pound out all the details of the plan. We will then have an emergency SREC meeting in Austin on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 and at this meeting we will vote to approve the plan. We cannot have the meeting any sooner because we have to have a 12 day notice before the meeting. The plan then has to be presented to the three Judge Federal Panel in San Antonio and then sent to the Department of Justice for approval (We can thank the unconstitutional Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for having to do this). DOJ approval will then take at least a couple of weeks (usually takes 2 months but they will try to do it faster).
We are still developing the full plan and it is very complex. Therefore, right now I do not have the complete details of the plan to send out to everyone, but I will send out more information as soon as the RPT releases the details of this plan.
I know that everyone will have MANY questions about the new plan after reading this article. I ask that everyone please wait until we have all the details worked out and emailed out to everyone. We should have a draft with more details to email out in the next few days. After we release the complete plan, feel free to ask questions or share concerns.
I WANT YOUR OPINIONS BEFORE WE VOTE! I would just like you to wait until we send out a DRAFT plan so that way you can ask questions AFTER you have read the plan. There will be time before we vote for you to send us your concerns!
Precinct Conventions will be Optional and will be the Morning of the County/Senatorial District Conventions.
The most important thing right now that I want to let everyone know, and this detail will not change, is that Republican Party of Texas Precinct Conventions will be optional. Each County Executive Committee will vote on whether or not to have them, and if they decide to have them, they will be on the morning of the County/Senatorial District Conventions which are currently approved by the Federal Panel to be on April 21st (or April 14th for some counties). This date for the County/Senatorial Cenventions could change if needed but that is what we are planning for and we would not want to push it back much more so that we will have time to get ready for the State Convention June 7th – 9th, 2012 in Fort Worth, TX. We cannot change the date and location of the Texas Republican State Convention 2012.
This is a Glimpse How the Convention/Delegate Selection Process Will Work THIS YEAR:
Rumors had gone around that the Republican Party of Texas would not have precinct Conventions at all and instead we would jump straight into the County/Senatorial District Conventions and then the State Convention June 7th – 9th, 2012 in Fort Worth, TX.
In response, there have been many emails going around stating that the Republican Party of Texas has to have Precinct Conventions because we have to keep the grassroots involved and so we must not do away with the Precinct Conventions. I was one of those people insisting that the RPT does not eliminate the Precinct Conventions. There were many great ideas and plans submitted to the SREC showing us how we can still have Precinct Conventions. I was 100% in favor of using some of these ideas or coming up with a way to have precinct conventions.
The SREC had a conference call to discuss a new Convention/Delegate Process and we got a little eye opening session.
We looked at the timeline and realized that we have NO IDEA when our new delegate selection plan will even be approved by the DOJ. This makes it impossible to create a timeline that includes a separate precinct convention date before a County/Senatorial Convention because we do not even know when we will get approval or even if that approval will be in time to be able to have a Precinct Convention. On top of that, there is an ENORMOUS amount of work that would have to be done by the County Parties in a very limited amount of time. There are over 5500 precincts in Texas what would need precinct conventions/locations/organization and Precinct Convention Chairmen. Even if we get approval in time for a precinct convention, and each county had the precinct conventions all combined in one location and used old precinct chairmen, the counties would simply not have enough time to organize 5500 precinct conventions and then have to turn around and quickly plan the county convention and process all the paperwork from the precinct conventions.
It is just not possible. There are MANY reasons why it is not possible and the reasons above are just a couple of the many reasons. Y’all know me and y’all know I fight for things. I was ready to fight for Precinct Conventions but we just simply do not have a choice. We listen to the grassroots Republicans and we have come up with a solution so that we can still have Precinct Conventions.
You CAN still have Precinct Conventions if your County Wants to…
It would not have been fair for the State Party to FORCE all counties into scrambling to organize Precinct Conventions with limited time and resources. At the same time, we are listening to the grassroots and we WANT any County to be able to have precinct conventions if the Republicans of that county would like to and are able to. For this reason, we are allowing the Executive Committee of every county in Texas the option of voting to have Precinct Conventions in their county. We do not have a timeline set because of the DOJ approval holdup, so if a County approves having Precinct Conventions, the Precinct Conventions would be on the morning of the County/Senatorial District Conventions and at the same location. It does not seem possible to plan for Precinct Conventions in 5500 different locations and on a different date before the County/Senatorial conventions so the next best thing would be to have Precinct Conventions on the same day and same location as the County/Senatorial Conventions.
Having No Precinct Conventions and Only a County/Senatorial District Convention Actually Allows for MORE Grassroots Republicans to be Involved
One of the reasons why I and others were insisting on having Precinct Conventions was so that all of the grassroots Republicans would still be able to be involved in the process. What I found out was that MORE people will have to opportunity to be involved if there are no Precinct Conventions. You see, when there is a Precinct Convention, each precinct selects delegates to go to the County/Senatorial District Convention. That means not everyone at the Precinct Convention gets a chance to be involved in the County/Senatorial Conventions. On the other hand, if there are no Precinct Conventions, EVERYONE gets to go to the County/Senatorial District Conventions. Everyone gets to be involved in that next step. Not having a Precinct Convention actually allows MORE Republicans to be involved in the process. It will also cut down on confusion and workload by having one date and location to be able to announce to all Republicans in the County. Not having a Precinct Convention will of course mean the County/Senatorial Conventions will be much bigger than normal and it might take a little longer to decide on rules/platform changes.
The 155 National Delegates elected at the Texas Republican State Convention will NOT be assigned a Presidential Candidate to Vote for, initially.
Due to the Election being right before the June Convention (maybe even after), the National Delegates chosen at the State Convention will NOT KNOW who they will be casting their ballot for in the Presidential Nomination at the National Convention. Once Texas certifies the Presidential Primary Election Results, the national delegates who were elected at the State Convention will then be told who they will be voting for at the National Convention. It will still be proportional as already planned. Proportional means that if someone, let’s say Santorum, gets 60 percent of the votes in the Texas Republican Primary Election then Santorum will get 60% of the 155 national delegate votes that Texas has. The delegates just will not know who they will be pledged to initially because they will have to wait until the Primary Election Results are in and certified.
Texas Might Actually Have an Impact in the Republican Presidential Race – Brokered Convention Possible.
I would have never believed this, but it looks like Texas might actually still have a voice in the Presidential Race. It looks like we might have all 4 current Presidential Candidates stick in the race until the end. So far, no one has jumped ahead very much in the Delegate Count because the vote keeps getting split and different candidates are winning different states. This means that there STILL might not be a clear Republican Nominee by the time Texas Votes on May 29th or in June. Texas will have 155 delegates and could swing the election for a candidate. Or, if one candidate is already in the lead, let’s say Mitt Romney, and Texas gives most of our Delegates to Santorum or Gingrich, then that might be enough to deny Mitt Romney a chance to get a majority of delegates and we will end up having a brokered convention. At a Brokered Convention, Texas will have a full 155 Delegates and therefore would have a huge say in the negotiations at a brokered convention.
For Those of You Who Are New to This Convention/Delegate Selection Process, Below is a little History Lesson on How the Convention/ Delegate Selection Process Has NORMALLY Worked IN THE PAST in Texas:
Each Precinct in Texas has a voting location on Election Day. In the past, voters would go to their polling place on the night of the Texas Republican Primary Election Day and there would be a Precinct Convention. Republicans at the Precinct Convention would submit changes/additions to Republican Party rules and Platform values. They would also pick delegates to go represent their precinct at the County/Senatorial Convention. Next would be the County/Senatorial District Conventions. The delegates at the County/Senatorial conventions would vote on the changes/additions to the rules/platform that were passed up to them from the Precinct Conventions. The delegates at the County/Senatorial District Conventions would also select delegates to represent the County/Senatorial District at the State Convention. Then there is the Texas Republican Party State Convention. All the delegates to the State Convention will vote to create the new Party Rules and the New Biennial Texas Republican Party Platform. The delegates of the State Convention will also vote on things like to elect a State Republican Party Chairman, new SREC Members, Delegates to the National Republican Convention to vote in the Republican Presidential Nomination, and two National Committee members to serve on the Republican National Committee (RNC). There is then a National Republican Convention and the National Delegates from every State will vote to pick the Republican Presidential Nominee. That is how the process would normally look if we were not in this big mess.