After the 2012 and 2016 Republican National Conventions, there was concern about Iowa’s delegate selection process that led to a majority of delegates who were not supportive of presumptive nominee. In 2012, a delegation that consisted of a majority of Ron Paul supporters saw a number of them vote against Mitt Romney on the first ballot.
In 2016, Iowa’s RNC delegates were bound proportionately based on the Iowa Caucus results, but the delegation still consisted of a majority of Ted Cruz supporters. Eleven out of Iowa’s 12 district delegates had pledged support to Cruz in the circumstance there was a convention fight. The at-large convention nominating committee, which had a majority of Cruz supporters, and the slate of at-large delegates elected at the state convention were primarily pro-Cruz.
A number of those delegates wanted to unbind the delegates at the convention in Cleveland before the first ballot.
Out of fairness, I must note that the past two national conventions saw plenty of “misbehavior” on the part of party leadership as well.
As a result of complaints from the RNC, as well as, complaints from non-Ron Paul and non-Ted Cruz supporters the Iowa GOP State Central Committee’s (SCC) organization committee tasked with how to address this suggested several changes to the process. The State Central Committee met on Saturday, and members thought, Caffeinated Thoughts was told by several SCC members, that they would have time to run the proposal by county leadership and grassroots before they voted on each change. That was not the case.
The controversial proposal that passed 9 to 8 on Saturday is this was a replacement of the nomination committee with members of the State Central Committee. The proposal reads, “Replace the Nominating Committee with 8 members, 2 from each district in the current SCC along with one either of the National Committeewoman and National Committeeman for a total of 9. Members shall determine amongst themselves who their representatives shall be.”
Before, district conventions delegates voted on who would represent their districts on the nominating committee. The committee then proposes a slate of RNC at-large delegates at the state convention for a vote.
While the process may need reform, the new change takes the process one step further away from the grassroots.
Here are how the members voted:
1st Congressional District
Chelle Adkins – No
Bethany Gates (No vote, resigned before the meeting.)
Eric Rosenthal – No
Jennifer Smith – Yes
2nd Congressional District
Marianette Miller-Meeks – Yes
David Hartsuch – No
Judy Davidson – Yes
Jared Klein – Yes
3rd Congressional District
Brenna Bird – No
Ernie Rudolph – No
Bill Gustoff – No
Heather Stancil – No
4th Congressional District
John Thompson – No
Andy Cable – Yes
Gary Nystrom – Yes
Craig Williams – Yes
National Committee Members
Steve Scheffler – Yes
Tamara Scott – Yes
One SCC member told me that Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann said this proposal can still change, and another member also stated that she hoped that the process changes passed on Saturday would be changed well before 2020.
Heather Stancil, told Caffeinated Thoughts, that she proposed that the district conventions become the nominating committee. She believed that would increase transparency, reduce top-down or campaign control, and ensure accountability to the grassroots. Each district would be allocated three at-large delegates & three at-large alternates to be nominated there to appear on the at-large slate presented at the state convention for a vote. She then said the SCC would choose any remaining at-large delegates. Using 2016 numbers, they would choose three at-large delegates in addition to the RNC required spots for RPI chair, National Committeeman, and National Committeewoman.
David Chung, who served as chair of the SCC organization committee, chair of the State Convention Rules Committee, and State Convention Parliamentarian, suggested doing away with the nominating committee altogether instead of having state convention delegates instead vote for individual delegates on the floor. He said the electronic voting implemented last year, along with having a balloting process for a run-off could make that possible.
Chung noted all the change in the process accomplished was to put a different group in charge. “It does not make the system more open or in any way better,” he said in a post on Facebook.
SCC members Caffeinated Thoughts spoke to stated that they believe all the current change will encourage campaigns to stack the State Central Committee instead of the nominating committee.
Update: Heather Stancil contacted Caffeinated Thoughts this morning by email.
This question came up at the DEC (District Executive Committee) meeting last night. I want to be clear that this was NOT on the SCC agenda for discussion nor a vote, which is why no one knew to ask for a copy of the 6-page proposal before the meeting. No copies were sent to members before the meeting. It was also why there were several attempts to table (by those who ultimately voted no) both from an RRO perspective and desire to be able to take time to read it, get district feedback, and offer amendments prior to a vote. All attempts to table failed.This reinforced my initial concern about the SCC being the nominating committee: If we can’t even be transparent about changing the delegate nominating process, why would the grassroots trust us with the delegate nominating process at all?