RNC To Consider Allowing 8 GOP Candidates On First Ballot

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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A Republican National Committee member will propose an amendment to the GOP convention rules this summer that will allow any Republican candidate with at least one delegate to be “deemed” nominated on the first ballot.

“So, using Iowa as an example, every candidate receiving at least four percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses will earn one delegate, and thus be nominated for consideration at the Republican National Convention,” North Dakota National Committeeman Curly Haugland, a member of the RNC Rules Committee, told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

Haugland says that since the Iowa primary, eight names would be in the nomination on the first ballot. These are Donald Trump, [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore], [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore], John Kasich, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore], and Jeb Bush.

“In other words, eight candidates have won at least one delegate in the primary or caucuses since Iowa. And so what I’m proposing to do is to state simply that the eight candidates that have received at least a single delegate in the primary process will be deemed to be nominated at the convention so the voting will begin on the first ballot with 8 names and you know who they are,” Haugland said.

Haugland wrote his fellow RNC committee members in November of 2015 he plans to propose on the convention floor in Cleveland an amendment that would replace Rule 40B which currently states:

“Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.”

Haugland reasons that since Rule 40 mandates the “support of the ‘permanently seated’ delegates, this vote cannot be taken until the report of the Convention Credentials Committee is adopted, thereby permanently seating the ‘temporary’ delegates. Therefore, there will be no ‘presumptive nominee’ prior to the 2016 convention.”

“I’m going to be proposing that at the convention, which is the first opportunity between now and the convention to change any rules,” he continued. “And the way it’s going right now, no one will meet the terms of rule 40, because that means you’d have to demonstrate the majority of 8 states and nobody is going to meet that threshold.”

The North Dakota Republican says he believe there should be more clarity and certainty about the nomination process, so he announced he plans to offer an amendment to Rule 40 at the Convention Rules Committee meeting prior to the convening of the convention in Cleveland. The amendment will delete all of Rule40(b) and replace it with:

“Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States for whom any delegate is bound to vote as a result of the delegate selection process is deemed to be a candidate for nomination by the Republican National Convention.”

Haugland explains that the amendment “will assure that none of the votes of primary voters will be wasted since all candidates receiving the minimum support necessary to earn delegate votes will be a candidate at the convention.”

He says the amendment is intended to eliminate the need for candidates to pursue eight state majorities to be nominated, and, as a result, neutralize the advantage wealthier candidates have to leverage the process.

Additionally, he does not believe that any current Republican candidate will be able to claim 1237 delegates prior the convention.

“Even if somebody did it wouldn’t matter because the convention is free to make any rules they want. People just don’t understand the power of the convention,” he said.

What about the second ballot then Republican delegates are free to support any candidate they choose?

Haugland suggested in his amendment proposal that primary voting in the states be viewed as the first round of voting, “and so when we get to the convention we’d say, okay here’s the first round of balloting. So one person may have one and somebody may have 1100 and everything in between.”

“When the convention is in session, the convention represents the highest authority of the Republican Party, when the delegates are seated, those delegates have the authority to do anything. The candidate could be somebody that isn’t even mentioned yet, but it isn’t very likely,” he explained, tamping down the reality that Mitt Romney or House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] may walk away with the nomination.

“That’s why I mention the field of eight that have been awarded at least one delegate. That’s a pretty big field of folks that have been exposed to the population of at least one state and have gotten enough support to earn at least one delegate.”

“I want to emphasize…the convention could say, ‘Gosh, we’re not happy with any of these people.’ They could pick a name out of a songbook,” he said. “The only restrictions would be that it would have to be a legal citizen—the constitutional requirements. A lot of people don’t understand the hierarchy and the political structure of the party. It’s a serious problem, because people think its part of the public domain, but it really isn’t—this nomination.”

Haugland, a member of the Republican National Committee since 1999, is former chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party. In 2000, he served as the chairman of the state’s delegation to the 2000 convention.

As a delegate in 2000 and 2004, he was on the Convention Platform Committee and in 2008 and 2012, Haugland served on the Convention Rules Committee.

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