We continue with the OKGOP Chair candidate survey (view part one here, part two here, and part three here). The next few questions were specifically designed to test the candidates' knowledge of Party Rules, procedures, and convention schedules.
10. Do you plan to run for chair at the state convention in May?
According to our rules, the State Committee Meeting on Oct 11 will be to fill the remainder of the unexpired term which would end in April or May of 2017. I do feel that continuity is important and if given the opportunity to serve, I do plan on running for a full term at that time.
State Party rules require when a vacancy is created for the office of State Party Chairman or Vice Chairman, a special election must be held at a State Committee meeting held no sooner than thirty (30) days and no more than sixty (60) days from the date of the vacancy. The person elected at the State Committee meeting will fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of the Chairman. Officers are elected at biennial conventions to be held in odd numbered years so the term of the current State Party Chair will expire at the adjournment of the state convention in 2017. There is no election of State Party Chairman at the state convention in May.
11. The Oklahoma Republican Party currently has conventions in three out of four years. Could you explain why we don’t have a convention every year?
OKGOP rules state that Party Officers are elected at Biennial Conventions to be held in odd numbered years.
In Presidential election years, the State Party Rules direct us to hold quadrennial Precinct Meetings, County Conventions, Congressional District Conventions and a State Convention for the purpose of preparing a platform and electing delegates to the Republican National Convention. We also elect our 2 representatives in the Republican National Committee at the Quadrennial Convention. Their terms begin at the conclusion of the National Convention.
Our rules require us to have conventions in three out of every four years. In odd numbered years we elect the Chairman and Vice Chair of the State Party and conduct other party business. In Presidential election years, like we are currently preparing for, we have additional responsibilities. We have to elect our National Committeeman and Committeewoman who serve 4 year terms in order to work with the RNC and prepare the next National Convention (2020). In the year that we elect our statewide elected officials, we are not required to hold precinct meetings, county conventions or a state convention, but we traditionally take that time to have either a rally or additional training to prepare for the upcoming election cycle. I hope to continue that tradition.
In the odd numbered years we elect our state chair and vice-chair as well as take care of other state party business. In the even numbered year of the presidential election it is the duty of the state convention to elect delegates and alternates to the national convention. Thus, the other even numbered year of the four year cycle is a bye year.
12. Please explain the national delegate selection process? Also, do you prefer voting on at-large delegates individually, or by a slate?
Oklahoma has five congressional districts that are determined by population. During the presidential election year, each congressional district has a separate convention at which time that convention elects three delegates to the national convention. This convention also elects one elector to represent them as a voting member of the electoral college. In addition to the fifteen delegates elected by the district conventions, twenty five delegates and twenty five alternates will be selected from statewide applicants who also wish to be considered as national delegates. These applicants will be chosen by a select committee that will make up the slate of twenty five delegates and alternates. I believe there is another avenue, but that can only be instituted by a rule change.
The RNC rules dictate in part how the states select their national delegates. Each state is entitled to three (3) delegates and three (3) alternates for each Congressional District. The number of at-large delegates/alternates is determined by the representation of Republican Office holder at the federal and state level. At the last National Convention we had 28 at-large delegates and will again have 28 at-large delegates and alternates in 2016.
In 2012 we had 212 people apply for one of the 56 slots available, (28 delegates + 28 alternates). There is no such thing as an “open” convention at the national level. Because of the very large number of applicants it is impossible to take nominations and elect delegates/alternates individually at the state convention. Therefore the Republican Party created State Party Rules that stipulate the process.
The Rules state the State Executive Committee meets after all District Conventions have been held and at least two weeks prior to the date of the State Convention for the purpose of selecting nominees for Delegate-at-Large and Alternate-at-Large to the Republican National Convention. All applicants are invited to an interview before the Exec. Comm where they are asked a wide range of questions. A private vote is taken of all names submitted and the applicants who receive a majority of votes are given one of the at-large slots. The same process takes place for at-large alternates.
I have been part of this process in two Presidential election years and believe it to be the best method to get a fair representation of delegates/alternates throughout the state. All names must be published at least (10) days prior to the State Convention. This is often called the Executive Committee slate and is voted on according to convention rules, usually as a whole. Nominations from the floor are accepted as detailed in the convention rules. Election of the Delegates-at-Large and Alternates-at-Large are done by roll call vote.
Our rules clearly outline the delegate process. There are three delegates and three alternates that will be selected at each District Convention this year. After the final District Convention is held, the State Executive Committee will meet to select a slate of At-large delegates and alternates. That slate will be published prior to the State Convention and the Convention will vote on it.
Currently our rules do not provided for an individual up or down vote on each member of the slate. Considering how many delegates Oklahoma has, and the average time it takes for us to go through one election at a convention, I feel it is impractical to try to do individual votes and feel that we should continue to work with the “slate” format. The slate is the collaborative product of those who have been elected to leadership positions from across the state. It is important to remember that every Congressional District is represented, every recognized ancillary organization is represented, and those who serve in this capacity take it very seriously, as they should.
The final question and closing statements will be posted tomorrow morning. (Update: view part one here, part two here, and part three here).