- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - About 2,000 people are expected to attend the Clark County Republican convention over the weekend to select delegates in the presidential nominating process, hold board elections and decide the party’s platform for the upcoming year. Here are things to know about the event, which is the largest of its kind in Nevada:

DELEGATE BREAKDOWN ALREADY SET

Republicans don’t bind any delegates to the outcomes of the county and state conventions.

Nevada will send 30 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, and their votes will reflect the results of the state’s Feb. 23 Republican caucuses. Donald Trump won the caucuses and will get 14 of Nevada’s delegate votes, while Marco Rubio gets seven, Ted Cruz gets six, Ben Carson gets two and John Kasich gets one.

If no candidate wins a majority - at least 1,237 delegates - of votes at the national convention, another round of voting ensues and Nevada delegates are released from their obligation to vote according to caucus results.



By contrast, Democrats bind 12 of their 43 delegates to the results of the state convention. That’s why it was significant when Bernie Sanders won county-level delegate votes by a comfortable margin last weekend, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote at the caucuses and locked in a 13-10 delegate lead.

A surge for Sanders now is unlikely to win him the state’s delegate majority, but it could hand him two more of the state’s Democratic delegates.

County-level Republican parties from throughout the state have been holding their conventions during the past few weeks. Unlike Democrats, who had all 17 county-level conventions on April 2, Republicans set different dates so state-level Republican candidates can make their pitch at multiple conventions.

MORE SLOTS THAN DELEGATES

State law allows caucus attendees to elect about 6,000 delegates from the precinct level to proceed to the Clark County Republican convention. The allotment reflects one delegate per 50 registered Republicans.

But only about 3,000 delegates were elected during caucuses held in Clark County. In some cases, attendees didn’t stick around at the caucuses long enough to elect representatives from their precinct; in other cases, a precinct had very few registered Republicans and nobody turned out to caucus.

Clark County is allowed to send about 2,000 delegates to the state convention, which is scheduled for May 14 at the Reno Events Center. But county Republican party chairman Ed Williams said he doesn’t expect that many people will want to attend the state convention. If that’s the case, any registered Republican who applies to be a delegate by the end of the county convention on Saturday will be allowed to be one.

Unresolved issues about delegates could complicate the county convention, however. Some precinct chairs did not sign delegate certification paperwork, and the forms didn’t get signatures from precinct secretaries because the caucus rules didn’t indicate to appoint such an officer.

Williams told the Las Vegas Sun that one outcome is that no delegates would be eligible, although he said that’s an untenable approach that probably wouldn’t happen short of a lawsuit.

More questions about eligibility could come over delegates who nominated themselves before the caucus, but didn’t attend the event and fill out the certification paperwork there, the newspaper reported.

DELEGATE PREFERENCES MATTER

Williams said it probably won’t be clear how many of the delegates elected Saturday support any given candidate - they’re not required to report their candidate preference at the convention.

Still, campaigns are working to get their supporters out to the convention because the political makeup of the delegate body could have repercussions down the road. If more Trump supporters are involved at the county and state level and then elect a large number of Trump supporters to Nevada’s 30-member national delegation, they could help him if he doesn’t score a majority in the first round of voting at the national convention and they become unbound to caucus results.

A delegation sympathetic to Trump could also influence convention rules in his favor. Two delegation members from Nevada are expected to be on the rules committee, which can draft rules that either help or hinder a given candidate and are expected to make a difference if there’s no clear Republican nominee by July.

A LEAN PLATFORM

Attendees at the county convention will also finalize the party platform for the upcoming year. A committee has proposed 11 planks, including ones supporting a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, a lower tax burden and a primary instead of caucuses. But attendees can propose other amendments on Saturday.

At the Washoe County Republican convention last weekend, the party ratified a platform with planks defining marriage as between a man and a woman and denying that climate change is man-made.

Williams said the Clark County party tries to keep its platform lean, and it’s historically taken a less socially conservative approach. In 2014, the county party removed planks defining marriage as between a man and a woman and opposing abortion.

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