- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The March 15 presidential primary was the first step toward North Carolina Republicans having a say in choosing their party’s presidential nominee.

Now the jockeying has started among GOP activists picking the state’s delegates to July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Their choices may be the most important in 40 years - which is how long it has been since no one locked up the nomination before the national convention.

Here’s a look at the delegate process in North Carolina:

__

WHAT ARE DELEGATES AND HOW DO THEY CHOOSE THE NOMINEE?



The delegates are North Carolina representatives to the national convention and are usually party activists and elected officials. Their most high-profile job is to vote for the party’s nominee for president and vice president. North Carolina is allocated 72 delegates - the sixth-highest among the states.

The delegates are bound during the first presidential ballot in Cleveland to back candidates according to the primary results.

__

DONALD TRUMP WON NORTH CAROLINA’S PRIMARY BUT GOT LESS THAN HALF THE DELEGATES. WHY?

Party activists decided last fall to award delegates to candidates on a proportional basis, based on what percentage of the statewide vote they received, rather than giving all 72 to the winner.

Trump, who received 40 percent of the primary ballots cast, is allocated 29 delegates, while Ted Cruz got 27 for finishing second at 37 percent. John Kasich received nine delegates, Mario Rubio six and Ben Carson one. Rubio and Carson delegates are still bound to those candidates on the first ballot although they have suspended their campaigns.

__

HOW ARE NORTH CAROLINA’S DELEGATES SELECTED?

They are chosen at regional conventions covering each of the state’s 13 congressional districts. They began last weekend and continue through April 23, including four on Saturday. Each convention elects three delegates, or 39 in all.

The state convention May 6-8 in Greensboro will elect 30 at-large delegates. The other three delegates are Chairman Hasan Harnett and Republican National Committee members David Lewis and Ada Fisher. The congressional and state conventions also select alternate delegates.

__

WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND BALLOT?

Potential delegates and surrogates for the remaining active candidates are keenly aware that North Carolina delegates are “unbound” on the second ballot and can vote how they choose. All delegate hopefuls declare their “preferred candidate” at district conventions, offering a possible hint of whom a delegate ultimately would choose.

In at least one convention last weekend, representatives of presidential candidates attending asked attendees to choose delegates they believe would back them through the national convention.

__

NEW METHOD

The party’s Executive Committee, composed of up to 550 people, decided recently to create a special panel that would recommend the 30 at-large delegates for state convention attendees to vote on. In previous election cycles, the chairman offered the proposed delegate slate.

It’s also likely convention goers aligned with certain presidential campaigns will offer their own potential substitute slates of delegates from the convention floor that would support their candidate after the first ballot in Cleveland.

__

INTERNAL POLITICS

Harnett said in an interview the panel appears to be another way the party’s establishment leaders are trying to thwart the will of tea-party and grassroots activists that elected him chairman last summer. He said he’s worried it will craft a slate that will ultimately support someone other than whom most primary voters chose in March.

DeVan Barbour IV, a national convention delegate from the 7th District and Executive Committee member, rejected Harnett’s arguments, saying having a committee process is more open and transparent than leaving it in the hands of the chairman. Regional party leaders and Harnett chose the panel’s membership.

There’s a move afoot among Executive Committee members to meet this month to consider removing Harnett as chairman. The state GOP’s board of directors censured Harnett last month in a fight over convention attendance prices and the GOP computer system. Harnett said he’s the target of a political witch hunt.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide