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The GOP Convention, Fact and Fiction

The Waynesboro Republicans are men and women of principle. Their goal is to defend the Constitution, with energy, courage and good humor.

Published in the News Virginian, April 20, 2016

Ken at Oak GroveSome recent public statements claim the Republican National Convention is being rigged. Such assertions, as of now, are untrue. I am a candidate from the 6th Congressional District to be a National Convention delegate, so I know the facts first-hand.

At the onset, you should remember that the Republican Party is a private organization, which is governed according to its bylaws which are approved by its members. As a private organization, it may, at its discretion, make its own rules for functioning. Further, there is not one single Republican Party. Rather, there are 50 largely independent State Republican Parties, and each one of those may make its own rules.

To nominate a Republican candidate for President, the 50 State Parties must elect and send delegates to a National Convention. Those assembled National Convention delegates will vote to decide the candidate.

The complaints of stolen delegates originate from people who do not understand that there are 50 independent State Parties engaged in electing National Convention delegates, and most of those Parties do it differently.

Let’s look at how Virginia elects its National delegates. Like all States, the decision on the election process occurs about a year before the campaign. Take note of that fact. The rules are determined long before any candidate announces his or her intention to run. The rules are locked in early and may remain in force throughout the process.

Every candidate knows, or should know, the rules before the campaign begins. The rules do not favor one candidate, nor do they harm another candidate. Even when the rules are not to everyone’s liking, they apply equally to all candidates.

The 84 members of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia decided in June, 2015 to hold an open primary. They also decided to require National Convention Delegates to vote on the first ballot proportionately for the candidates based on the results of the open primary.

Trump received 35% of the primary votes and will receive 17 first ballot votes. Rubio received 32% of the vote and was awarded 16 first ballot votes. Cruz received 17% of the vote and will have 8 first ballot votes. Kasich received 9% of the vote and will get 5 first ballot votes. Carson received 6% of the vote and will have 3 first ballot votes.

All of those numbers are derived as a percentage of the primary vote.

The final piece of the puzzle is how Virginia elects its National Convention delegates. There are 3 delegates elected from each of the 11 Congressional Districts and 13 statewide delegates who are elected at the State Convention. The entire process, covering many months, is in the open for the world to observe.

Some people have argued that the person who has the most votes, although not a majority, should be declared the nominee. These people assert that if a candidate with a plurality does not win the nomination, it is evidence that there were shenanigans, proof that the nomination was stolen.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Every Republican National Convention that has been held has required its Presidential candidate to be nominated by a majority, not a plurality, of the delegates.

In 1860, William Seward went into the convention with the most votes at 42%, but Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot. The same thing happened to Blaine in 1876, Grant in 1880, Sherman in 1888, Wood in 1920 and Dewey in 1940.

Allegations, unsupported by facts, are potentially damaging to the outcome of the General Election. After eight years of radicalism, we need wisdom and sound judgment in the White House. I encourage us all to keep our eyes on the goal.

Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.