Tuesday, June 05, 2012

More On "Is This Any Way To Run A State Convention"

This past weekend I posted about my concern of the actions of the Marion County Republican Party towards persons who were duly elected as state convention delegates that seemed intended to discourage participation and, in the case of Indianapolis City-County Councilor Christine Scales, her removal and replacement as a delegate because she paid the $80 delegate fee a day late after returning from a trip to her son's out-of-town wedding. Bill Starr posted this comment to my post discussing how he and at least two other individuals who timely mailed their $80 fee to a post office box provided by the Bartholomew County Republican Party, which was never retrieved by the county party, were notified that they were being replaced because they failed to pay the fee. Starr and the other delegates who were replaced are now being told that they must travel to Indianapolis for a hearing tomorrow afternoon if they want to challenge the local party's ruling. Starr wrote:
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.
I'm not sure what the motivations are for the Bartholomew County GOP Chairman's actions. In the case of Councilor Scales, it appears to be retribution because she has not supported Mayor Greg Ballard on some of his more controversial proposals. There seems to be concern around the state that persons who support Ron Paul plan to make mischief at the state convention. Indeed, Ron Paul supporters have been making plans to run their own slate of national convention delegates in the district caucus elections at this weekend's convention. Mitt Romney won at least 60% of the vote in every congressional district in this year's May 8th primary and is entitled to receive the three delegates and three alternates elected from each of the state's nine congressional districts. A state law provides that persons selected as a delegate at the state convention from a congressional district are required to support the candidate for president who received the highest number of votes in his or her congressional district. I.C. 3-8-3-11 provides:

A delegate or alternate delegate selected from a congressional district to the national convention of a political party shall, on the first ballot at the national convention, support the candidate for President of the United States who received the highest number of votes in the congressional district at the primary election if the person is in fact a candidate at the convention. A delegate-at-large or alternate delegate-at-large to the national convention is not required to support a specific candidate for President on any ballot at the convention.
The state law does not bind the delegates chosen at large by the party at the state convention to the candidate receiving the highest number of votes. Notwithstanding the state law, Ron Paul supporters claim that the state party rules don't contain a similar provision binding the delegates elected from congressional districts and intend to challenge the party-backed candidates in favor of delegates who will support Ron Paul on the first ballot. Whether that's the motivation behind the actions of the Bartholomew Co. GOP Chairman in replacing delegates like Starr is unclear. Starr indicates that he has attended conventions in the past as a state convention delegate; his comment did not indicate if he is a Ron Paul supporter.

UPDATE: Bill Starr posted a comment late Wednesday afternoon saying that the Bartholomew Co. Chairman withdrew his opposition to seating the three delegates, allowing them to serve.

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