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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

6th District Convention Shenanagans

The Chair of the 6th CD, Mark Swanson wrote a letter to delegates regarding the controversy over binding Ron Paul delegates to vote for John McCain. Andy Applikowski has a screen shot of the letter. Craig Westover is carrying water for the Party people opposed to the Ron Paul people. Minn Post:

In the cadence of an NFL referee, Swanson wrote: "After consultation with our party leadership and a review of the appropriate documents, we have come to the conclusion that the motion does not pass constitutional muster ... Delegates (and alternates) are not bound to vote for any particular candidate."

Instant replay got it right ... maybe.

Larger issues at stake
Although delegates (and alternates) to the GOP national convention are not legally bound to any specific candidate, ethical issues and questions about the representative role of national delegates still simmer in the Sixth.

"The purpose of the motion and the reason I supported it was an integrity issue," said Swanson. "I expect the delegates that represent me to act with integrity, that they mean what they say. The delegates elected were less than fully honest.

"The question [whether the delegate candidate would support John McCain] was clear," Swanson said. "It meant you were going to the convention to support John McCain."


A plurality is not a majority
Although Swanson is not prepared to release the exact vote totals for elected delegates and alternates from the Sixth District, he did say that delegates to the national convention were elected with plurality vote totals. In other words, while individual Paul delegates garnered higher vote totals than other delegate nominees, in aggregate more votes at the convention were cast for McCain supporters.

"It is the right of the Paul people to be organized," said Swanson. But, he noted, national delegates also "have an obligation to represent the sense of the district at the convention."

"To debate whether anyone but John McCain is going to get the GOP nomination is a waste of time," said Swanson, but he agrees "to debate what principles are written into the platform is a worthwhile activity. The platform is what the grassroots stands for – they decide what should be in the platform."

The chair of the Ron Paul campaign commented:

My recollection is that the RP national delegates got roughly 100 votes each out of the 300 in attendance. Out of 90 candidates, that's a pretty strong plurality.

For the record, at least one candidate for delegate told me he was asked if he would support McCain. The candidate specified, "after the endorsement" meaning nomination, and the Nom Com guy said, "I'll put that down as a 'yes'." So there was a bit of confusion over the question.