Election 2008: May 2008 Archives

The Club for Growth's 2007 congressional ratings are out, and Oklahoma Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe and 1st District Congressman John Sullivan were named as Defenders of Economic Freedom for scoring above 90%.

Coburn had a 97, just behind S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint, who had the only 100. Coburn was tied for second with N.C. Sen. Richard Burr. Inhofe's 91 had him ranked fifth in the Senate. Arizona's John Kyl and Nevada's John Ensign were the other two Senate Defenders, Republicans all.

In the House, Sullivan scored a 95, putting him in a three-way tie for 20th with Randy Neugebauer of Texas and Eric Cantor of Virginia. 49 House members scored 90 or better, all of them Republicans.

The highest ranking Democrats were Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas, ranked 193rd with 26%, and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, ranked 47th with 21%.

The lowest ranking Republicans were Rep. John McHugh of N.Y., close to the median score with 15%, ranked 217th, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, ranked 66th with 12%.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton flunked out -- goose eggs for both of them. Ron Paul scored 80. John McCain scored a 94, but isn't ranked because he didn't cast enough votes on the specified issues.

The scorecards list the specific votes that were counted. Here is the Club for Growth House Scorecard and the Club for Growth Senate Scorecard. This entry explains how the rankings were calculated.

A commenter on my brief summary of the Oklahoma Republican State Convention took issue with my account and helpfully provided a link to another, written by a Ron Paul supporter, on a site called "coup by memo". (It's unclear if the commenter is the author of this other webpage.) This other report is wrong in nearly every respect, but it was interesting to explore the rest of the website and learn about the values held by some members of the Liberty Values Coalition. (I will address that in a later entry.)

I can't speak to what occurred during the morning session, as I was in and out of the convention hall, waiting for my chance to work with credentials committee chairman Pam Pollard to get the tally spreadsheet set up. (During the afternoon voting, I sat at a laptop and entered numbers in an Excel spreadsheet as the roll call of counties was read.) Because of this, I was able to see up close what was happening during the credentials process, and why it took so long.

The check-in process went on at least 40 minutes longer than scheduled to accommodate the huge crowd. There were a number of people who were somehow left off of the list of delegates submitted by their county party chairman and so weren't in the database when they went to check in. The credentials committee acts as an appeals board for cases like these. Of the more than 1000 delegates, about two dozen were added by this process.

Once this was done, Pam Pollard went to the podium to read the preliminary credentials report, county-by-county: How many authorized delegates (based on a formula established in the permanent state party rules), how many delegates had signed in, and the maximum number of votes. That last number is the minimum of the number of authorized delegates and twice the number who signed in. In other words, the number of people (warm bodies, if you will) is weighted to match the authorized vote count, with a maximum weight of 2.

For example, consider a county that has 15 authorized votes:

  • If 45 people sign in, each of those 45 people count as 1/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 20 people sign in, each of those 20 people count as 3/4 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 15 people sign in, each of those 15 people count as exactly 1 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 9 people sign in, each of those 9 people count as exactly 5/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 5 people sign in, each of those 5 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 10 votes.
  • If 2 people sign in, each of those 2 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 4 votes.

At the end of Pam's report (it was about 11 a.m. at this point), those county chairman who wished to challenge the preliminary report went to the sign-in area. I saw about two dozen people lined up. The main problem was that some people who had signed in and received their credentials (a pre-printed badge and a button with the county's name) weren't showing up in the database as checked in. The problem was operator error -- a box wasn't checked by the clerks. This affected about 40 people.

In the meantime, I'm told that parliamentarian State Rep. John Wright ruled that it was permissible for business to proceed following the preliminary acceptance of the credentials report, and so the permanent convention organization was approved and the rules were debated and approved before the recess for lunch.

The claim that there were 500 more delegates present after lunch is based on (at best) misinterpretation of what was happening. The room was as full before lunch as after. There was no credentials activity during lunch, except to distribute ballots to the county chairmen and to get me set up to keep score.

At roughly 11, the total number of delegates (warm bodies) that had signed in was reported to the convention as 1003, according to my notes. That was the preliminary report I mentioned earlier.

The total number of raw votes cast in the three roll call votes was 1050 in the up-or-down vote on the Executive Committee delegate slate, 1032 in the National Committeewoman election, and 1035 in the National Committeeman election. That's the actual number of ballots submitted by delegates to their county chairmen during the roll call votes. So it appears that about 50 delegates were added after the preliminary credentials report, and nearly all of these had actually signed in and received credentials; they just weren't noted in the database has having checked in and so weren't included in the initial count.

The confusion of Mr. or Ms. coup-by-memo may be that the total for each roll call vote was announced as the weighted total -- the weighting being done in accordance with the process above as specified by the rules. Someone new to the process might have assumed there were suddenly 500 more delegates than before.

On whether to approve the Executive Committee delegate slate, the raw vote (number of warm bodies on each side) was yes 700, no 350. The weighted vote was yes 1105.5, no 554.5.

On the National Committeewoman vote, the raw vote was Carolyn McLarty 718, Denise Engle 314. The weighted vote was McLarty 1152.7, Engle 499.3.

On the National Committeeman vote, the raw vote was James Dunn 520, Steve Curry 515. The weighted vote was Dunn 833.6, Curry 824.4.

(Note that in each case, there is an almost identical proportion for raw and weighted, which you would expect. Mathematically, the only way the weighted vote would skew significantly from the raw vote is if many counties with roughly half their authorized delegates present voted differently from the general trend of the convention.)

Coming up next, probably tomorrow, a look at the values associated with the Liberty Values Coalition, and a comparison of their slate to the Executive Committee's slate.

P.S. I neglected to mention in the earlier entry: Tulsa County was the largest delegation present, and we had nearly as many delegates as we were authorized.

One other note: We finished just slightly after our hard-cutoff time of 3:00 p.m. The hotel gave us a few minutes of grace, and as soon as we adjourned they opened up the walls to the other half of the ballroom and began blaring music to get us out. They had to set up for an event at 7 p.m.: Vince Gill was giving a private performance to a SemGroup event.

The 2008 Oklahoma Republican State Convention adjourned about an hour ago, having completed its agenda, electing a slate of 23 delegates and 23 alternates, 2 presidential elector nominees, a national committeewoman, and a national committeeman.

The convention approved the rules recommended by the convention rules committee, approved the slate of delegates and alternates nominated by the State Executive Committee (of which I am a member), and the two elector nominees recommended by the State Executive Committee. The convention elected James Dunn, the 2006 nominee for Attorney General, and retired Woodward veterinarian Carolyn McLarty to the Republican National Convention. (Incumbents Lynn Windel and Bunny Chambers stepped aside after 12 years.)

A group calling themselves the Liberty Values Coalition -- an alliance of Ron Paul supporters, paleoconservatives, and conspiracy theorists, with a number of long-time party activists who, for one reason or another, are disaffected with party leadership -- attempted to get one of their own elected as convention chairman, attempted to defeat the proposed rules, and attempted to defeat the Executive Committee slate, failing in each case. The group distributed a proposed slate which mixed selected members of the Executive Committee slate with a number of Ron Paul supporters.

Former National Committeewoman Mary Rumph was one of those nominated for delegate on the Executive Committee slate who was also listed on the Liberty Values Coalition flyer. When she told the convention that her name was appropriated by the LVC without her consent, the loud and long applause told the story: The "non-Pauls" had the majority at the convention.

More later.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from May 2008.

Election 2008: April 2008 is the previous archive.

Election 2008: June 2008 is the next archive.

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