Texas set to Lose Influence in Presidential Primary and National Convention - Letter from RNC Committeeman Bill Crocker

Under current Texas Law and Republican Party rules, Texas may be set to lose half of its votes in selecting the next Republican candidate for President of the United Staes if our election date is not moved to April, 2012. Following is a letter from Texas' Republican National Committeeman, Bill Crocker, addressing this issue. The letter is addressed to the Texas Legislature and references Senate Bill 100 from the 2011 legislative session.

Under our present law, the Texas presidential primary must be held on the first Tuesday in March, which in 2012 will be March 6. The Rules of the Republican Party (the national party rules) provide that delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention from a state which has a March primary, if bound by the results of that primary, must be allocated among the primary candidates in accordance with the results of the primary election "on a proportional basis." [Rule 15(b)]

The Rules of the RPT require national convention delegates from Texas to vote in accordance with the results of the Texas primary, and require allocation of delegates among the candidates on a basis which may not be considered proportional. Our delegates from a congressional district are allocated on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who obtains more than 50% of the primary votes in that congressional district. Our at-large delegates are allocated on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who obtains more than 50% of the primary vote in the state.

Under the present national party rules, which cannot be changed before the next national convention, Texas may be penalized to the extent of losing 50% of its delegates, votes and voice in the convention. [Rule 16] In our next convention, 2012, we will choose our presidential candidate to defeat Barack H. Obama, the most important decision for Republicans and for our country for a long time to come. We should have a delegation of 171 Texas Republicans and be the second largest at the 2012 national convention. But if Texas is determined to be in violation of Rule 15(b), our delegation and voting strength will be reduced to 84 people and 84 votes.

The only practical solution is to move our primary to April. This will not only free us from the potential loss of 50% of our delegates, it will easily allow compliance with the Move Act, a new federal statute intended to enable all overseas military personnel to vote absentee, probably a net benefit to Republican candidates in light of the miserable treatment of our military by the Obama administration. As a bonus, with an April primary, Texas could have the first winner-take-all primary with a huge number of delegate votes following the states which must have proportional delegations. If the race is as even as it looks like it might be, Texas could be the deciding state. That will not be possible if we continue to have our primary on Super Tuesday in March with approximately twenty other states.

Members of the Texas House and Senate who oppose moving the primary to April, and instead advocate changing the filing date to mid-December (which will also require that county election administrators work through the holidays) and keeping the current primary date in March, risk a huge backlash from grassroots Republicans (and county elections administrators). Grassroots Republicans are the people you and I depend on to walk the blocks, knock on the doors, man the phones and do a multitude of other things we can't do to elect Republican candidates. We cannot survive without their enthusiastic support. I urge you to consider moving our primary to the first Tuesday in April.

Comments

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The Republican Party of Texas rules regarding the primary and delegate allocation are mostly compliant with the RNC guidelines. The primary is only problematic if one candidate receives over 50% of the vote statewide, thus triggering the winner-take-all provision in the rules. 
<a href="http://frontloading.blogspot.com/2011/06/republican-national-committeema...">A fuller explanation</a>.

Josh, 

If I understand you correctly, you only see this as a problem if a candidate wins a majority of the votes. 

If a candidate does well in Texas, the state is penalized. That does not sound like a wise approach to choosing a nominee.

At this stage of the game I am not sure we can yet predict who will still be in the race, much less who might will win Texas with more than 50 % of the vote.

 

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