Sunday, June 03, 2012

Is This Any Way To Run A State Convention?

I'm not quite sure why I even bothered to do it, but for whatever reason I filed a statement of candidacy to run in the May primary for delegate to the Republican state convention, which takes place this coming weekend at the Indiana Convention Center. The Democrats are hosting their state convention the following week in Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. Six candidates ran for four delegate slots elected from my district. I was one of the four delegates elected. I assumed incorrectly that I would receive some official notice from the state party congratulating me on my election and providing me timely details about the time, date, agenda and other information about the state convention.

After I contacted someone with the local party inquiring about the state convention, I received a very brief, barely polite letter from the Marion County Republican Party telling me that I had been elected as a state convention delegate and unless I paid an $80 fee to the county party by the following week, I would be removed and replaced as a delegate by another person. The letter contained absolutely no details about the convention. I still have received no information from the state party providing any details about the state convention. I visited the party's website and found no information on the homepage there either. If you clicked on the Events link, you could scroll down and find a listing for the state convention. I clicked the listing for the opening day of the Indiana Republican State Convention and it gave me a contact person, the location of the event and the following information:

Sign-in for District Caucuses will begin at 5:30 p.m. (DELEGATES ONLY) in front of each district caucus room. District caucuses will convene at 6:30 p.m. Only credentialed delegates will be allowed to enter the district caucuses. 

I'm not sure what delegates planning to travel and spend the night in Indianapolis are suppose to do. There is no information about hotels offering special convention room rates. I clicked on the link for the convention information for June 9th. It lists the location and time of convention (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m) and the following information:

We will be nominating the Republican candidate for: Lieutenant Governor Attorney General Superintendent of Public Instruction and Electing National Convention Delegates and Alternates            
Adoption of a party platform used to be a state convention item but there's no mention of it on the website. There's also no information provided about the rules that will govern the convention or deadlines that must be met. I guess none of that's important if you assume everything has already been decided and will simply be adopted by unanimous consent by voice vote.

Late last week I received a one-page letter from the Marion Co. Republican Party dated May 28, 2012 from Bryce Carpenter, the party's executive director, advising me to consider "this letter as confirmation of your election/appointment as a delegate at the 2012 Indiana State Republican Convention." Apparently there were people elected as delegates who chose not to pay their $80 fee or there weren't a sufficient number of people who filed to run for delegate in the May primary because I also received an e-mail late last week from the county party seeking help in filling a number of vacant state convention delegate spots that still existed in Marion County.

The one-page letter from Carpenter continued, "As you are aware the Indiana Republican State Convention is on June 8th and 9th at the Indiana Convention Center . . . Below is more information on the schedule for both days." The additional schedule information tells me that I can attend an "optional" open house with Secretary of State Connie Lawson in her State House office Friday afternoon. I guess she's getting an early start campaigning for the party's nomination at the state convention in two years. There's also an "optional meet and great (sic)" at the convention center. A one-hour period is set aside for sign-in (at which I must provide an ID) and the district caucuses will convene for one hour. I guess I'm suppose to intuitively know what's on the agenda for the district caucus. Only one hour is scheduled for the district caucus so it must be a "cut and dried" agenda. The only information about Saturday's agenda is the location of the general session, the time the doors are opened and restrictions on access to the convention floor. The letter closes by thanking me for my participation "in this very important event." We value your participation and dedication to the Republican Party." Really?

UPDATE: This gets more interesting. I received an e-mail from City-County Councilor Christine Scales, who was also elected as a delegate. She sent in her $80 check, but it arrived at party headquarters about a day late because she was out of town for several days attending her son's wedding when the original notice arrived. Her check was returned to her in the mail on June 1st, and she was told that she had been replaced because she mailed her payment after the deadline. Councilor Scales had initially wondered if she had filed in the wrong district to run because some of the persons listed on the ballot in her district lived nowhere near her. Like me, she had trouble finding any information about the convention on the party's website. Before Scales received the letter from Bryce Carpenter returning her check, she learned separately in a e-mail from Melissa Thompson that she had filed in the correct district, but the districts were screwed up because of Mayor Ballard's reprecincting order that was signed after the convention delegate districts had already been certified. Thompson wrote:
You were on the ballot in the correct spot. After the districts were drawn by State Committee the Mayor signed the reprincting (sic) order and that messed up a bunch of numbers. I was on the ballot with Murray Clark who lives miles from me. You are totally legal based on the messed up system.
Actually, the county chairman draws the districts; the state chairman only certifies them after reviewing the delegate allocation plan to make sure it complies with the state party rules. I know that because I defended the Lake Co. Republican Chairman, Kim Krull, in a complaint filed by a malcontent in her county who complained that she did not allocate the delegates fairly among the districts. The state party slapped her on the hand and told her she should have done a better job allocating them, even though the state party reviewed the delegate allocation and certified it as complying with the state party rules to the state election division. In Scales' case, the Marion Co. GOP Chairman tosses an elected Republican official as a delegate who was lawfully elected as a state delegate to represent her district in the May 8th primary because her payment arrived a day late. As I noted above, I was provided only one week's written notice to pay the convention delegate fee. Why would Scales be removed as a delegate when I received an e-mail late last week saying the party had vacant delegate spots that needed to be filled? It looks to me like the party is going out of its way to prevent duly elected convention delegates from attending the convention so they can be replaced with what Rex Early comically refers to as "mummy dummies."


guy77money said...

I wonder if the mummy dummies will have to pay the $80.00 fee?

Gary R. Welsh said...

There have been rumblings that the county party has paid the fee of some delegates in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. The county party never had to account for the funds the receptionist embezzled a few years ago so it's not like any one is actually holding it accountable.

Cato said...

The GOP is trying to muddy the rules of the state conventions to keep the Ron Paul supporters off guard.

They figure they'll have enough party stalwarts who are specifically guided through the process to conduct all business they need to run.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Ron Paul delegates don't pose a problem in Marion County. There weren't very many of them who even bothered to file to run. Ron Paul's effort in Indiana was very poorly coordinated. The woman who I spoke to early on didn't know the first thing about the process in Indiana, and she didn't want any advice from anyone who knew what they were doing. Christine Scales is not a Ron Paul person. How do you explain her being bounced when they were still looking for delegate spots that needed to be filled?

Unknown said...

We have always had to pay for all delegates whether they paid their fee or not or whether we actually had a delegate to fill an empty spot or not. This year the state party changed the rules so that counties that have people who like to see their name on the ballot actually put their money where their mouth is. We only had 9 open delegate spots after the election. They were all filled. Then people started resigning or not paying. The deadline was May 22nd to pay, but those who were elected we gave some extra time especially if they had contacted us. We only have a couple unpaid/open spots and deadline is tomorrow at 10am I think to submit any further names....and this is Kim Krull by the way. I think it says unknown when I use a google account to post! sorry!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for sharing, Kim. I know that you sent your notices to your delegates earlier than Marion Co. so they had a reasonable time to get their fee paid, unlike Marion County, which gave a last-minute notice. I also don't think you would have stripped an elected official as a delegate because she paid her fee one day late as our county chairman did to Christine Scales. The presumption is that she is being punished because she won't go along with all of the corrupt deals our Republicrat mayor tries pushing through the counsel all the time with little debate.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I wonder why the fee is $80. As I recall not long ago it was $20. I think it is very dangerous to riase the price to $80 which will discourage people from being part of what should be a grass roots political event.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It's hard to figure out what the $80 covers. Who knows how much the CIB is charging them to host it at the convention center.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I do not know either why you bother with either party. Re the Republican one, today Micheal Snyder posts at The American Dream site:

"1.6 Trillon Dollars More Debt: Fiscal Conservatives Have Been Raped by The Republican Party".

He starts: "What the Republican Party has done to fiscal conservatives over the past year and a half has been a betrayal so vast that it is difficult to find words to describe it." and,

He ends: "The greatest debt bubble in the history of the world is going to burst and America is going to be completely devastated."

Bill Starr said...

There are at least 3 of us duly elected delegates in Bartholomew County who paid our fee as specified, well in advance of the deadline given by the county party, who were told yesterday that our county chair is challenging us for non payment of the fee. The state party told us late yesterday that we need to go to a hearing in Indianapolis tomorrow (Wed, 6 June 2012) to present our evidence that we paid our fees on time.

The election was May 8, I received a letter on May 10 from the secretary of the Bartholomew county GOP central committee stating that I needed to mail a check for $80 to PO Box 1723 by May 20. My check went out in the mail May 11.

On May 29, I heard that the county chair had e-mailed a couple of other delegates whose payment also went out in the May 11 mail, advising them that he had not received their fee. They went to the Columbus post office and were advised that the envelope containing their fee was still in the PO box.

I also went to the post office and was also advised that the envelope containing my payment was still in the PO box as well. A fourth elected delegate was also advised that his payment was still in the PO box, but the county chair has told him that he will not be challenged.

Pretty strange. I've attended conventions in 1996, 2008, and at least one or two others in between and never encountered anything such as this before.

Bill Starr said...

The county chairman phoned in to the credentials committee today just before my hearing and withdrew all of his challenges based on alleged non-payment of convention delegate fee, so the committee denied the challenges and we get to attend the convention.