On to New York!

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This has been in the works for a while, but I hadn't wanted to say anything until it was official. On Saturday, I was elected by the Oklahoma Republican Convention as one of 23 at-large delegates to this year's Republican National Convention. The at-large slate, which was nominated by the state party's Executive Committee, includes Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune, State Representatives Odilia Dank and Fred Perry, and a few other officials, but most of the delegates are grass-roots volunteers.

In addition to the 23 at-large delegates, each of the five congressional district conventions elected three delegates. The state chairman and Oklahoma's two representatives on the Republican National Committee round out the delegation. Except for those three officials, there's an alternate for each delegate. Councilor Chris Medlock will be serving as an alternate.

Republicans seeking a place on the Executive Committee's slate had to send in an application listing our involvement in the party. A couple of Saturdays ago, the Executive Committee conducted brief interviews of the 49 people who applied to serve as delegates or alternates. There were three more applicants than places, so a few folks were disappointed.

One of those who didn't make the cut sought to be elected by the full convention. Richard Engle, who had served as a delegate and alternate to previous conventions, was nominated "from the floor" for alternate. He circulated a nominating petition and received 100 signatures to qualify, and so his name appeared on the ballot along with the 23 people nominated by the Executive Committee. The state convention delegates could mark up to 23 names on the ballot, and it took a while to count the votes, although most people voted for the Executive Committee's slate. Engle lost and declared it a defeat for the grass-roots, but the reality is that the party leadership -- coming out of the grass-roots and elected by the grass-roots -- and a majority of the 772 state convention delegates didn't vote for him. (In most counties, the only qualification to be a state convention delegate is to be a registered Republican and to sign up and be willing to spend a beautiful May Saturday indoors listening to political speeches. A few small counties sent "closed" delegations, meaning the county convention elected a fixed number of delegates to represent the county at the state convention.

This will be my first time to a national convention. Even though my mind has already been made up for me on the most important vote -- I'm bound to vote for the winner of Oklahoma's presidential preference primary -- we'll also be considering the party's platform and the rules by which the 2008 presidential nominating process will be conducted. I expect to be writing a lot about this as the summer unfolds.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 10, 2004 12:53 AM.

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