Election 2012: February 2012 Archives

Oral Roberts University has posted video of their recent town hall events, sponsored by the ORU College Republicans, with Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich:

Rick Santorum speaks at Oral Roberts University, February 9, 2012

Newt Gingrich speaks at Oral Roberts University, February 20, 2012

Santorum at ORU (MDB20793)SoonerPoll.com has released a poll of 300 likely Oklahoma Republican presidential primary voters (deemed likely because of voting history). 278 said they planned to vote in the March 6 Super Tuesday primary. Margin of error is +/- 5.66%. The survey occurred over a nine-day period (February 8 - February 16).

The result:Santorum 38.5%, Romney 23.0%, Gingrich 18.0%, and Paul 7.6%, with 12.9% Don't Know / Refused.

Because Oklahoma's primary is in March, the new national Republican rules require allocation to be proportional. 25 delegates will be allocated based on the statewide result, and 3 delegates will be allocated based on the result in each congressional district. You must have at least 15% to get any delegates, and if you break 50% you get all the delegates. Based on the results of this poll (and with the understanding that the congressional district subsamples are so small the margin of error is enormous), Santorum would get 12 statewide delegates, Romney 7, Gingrich 6. Santorum would win all the delegates in the 1st and 2nd CDs and two of three in CDs 3, 4, and 5. Romney would win one delegate each in CD 3 and CD 4; Gingrich would win one delegate in CD 5. The grand total would be Santorum 24, Romney 9, Gingrich 7.

If Santorum could get key endorsements in central and western Oklahoma (paging James Lankford), he would have a shot at sweeping all the delegates.

You may recall that in 2008, Mike Huckabee won the 1st and 2nd CDs, while McCain won the other three plus the statewide vote by a narrow margin.

Question 4 has got to be a typo. I hope the callers didn't read the question like this, but here's how it's presented in the poll result:

4. As you know, the Republican Presidential preferential primary election is February 5, 2008, do you plan to vote in that election?

planned_parenthood_mammograms.jpgThe Washington, D.C., based blog Alexa Shrugged weighs into the debate over the Obamacare mandate that would force church-owned institutions to fund insurance coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and abortion even if such funding violates the principles of the owners. Alexa has posted three installments in this series, marshaling facts, figures, and reason to counter some of the wild claims made by the left.

This issue is a gut check for conservatives: Will we acquiesce in the Left's framing of the issue (aided and abetted by the mainstream media) as a question of banning contraception or endangering women's health, and shrink away from any further debate in hopes the issue will go away? Or will we stay in the debate, defending religious liberty, keeping the focus on the egregious attempt by the Obama administration to force its values on religious Americans and the institutions they've built and funded with their own money? Precisely because this is a liberty issue, it ought to win the support of libertarians and social liberals and moderates. If you're an Obama fan, you may think government power will only be used to coerce conservatives to do what you want, but once that power is there, once the precedent is set, it could be used to coerce you to violate your own conscience.

Here are links and excerpts for the articles in Alexa's series so far:

Part 1: Controlling the Birth Control Debate

Hey liberals: You know that if the Obamacare law has the power to mandate the right to free birth control, it also has the power to ban it, right? As Rush Limbaugh said, "Obamacare could ban contraception. Once Obamacare is implemented, the government can make any change unilaterally it wants." As in, the next president, (oh, let's REALLY give them chills!) maybe Santorum, can not only change that mandate, but replace it with whatever other mandate he wants because the law gives him that power. As they say, "A government big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."

If the government can force insurers to cover birth control for free, and can force you to buy health care, what CAN'T it force companies and citizens to do? I am very afraid that if the Supreme Court does not declare Obamacare unconstitutional we will find out.

Part 2: Debunking the Myth that 99% of Women Are Using Birth Control

First of all, if this is true, clearly there is no crisis of accessibility or cost - 99% is as universal for coverage as you'll ever get. And if 99% of women already have a way of getting or paying for birth control, then why in the world do we need to make it free through an Obamacare mandate?? ....

#5: The fact sheet says "only 7% of women aged 15-44 are at risk for unintended pregnancy but are not using contraceptives." This does not address WHY these women are not using contraceptives - maybe they don't care either way if they get pregnant - but Democrats seem to assume it is because they're not handed out for free. So, we're forcing EVERYONE to subsidize ALL women's birth control for Obamacare - including those who can pay, those who already get it free or at a discount - because up to 7% of women "at risk" are not using it???

Part 3: No, Planned Parenthood, Birth Control is NOT "Basic Health Care"

Unlike abortion, which stops a beating heart and ends a life, I am pro-choice when it comes to contraception. However, contraceptives are, on the whole, not a health care need, but a lifestyle want. The vast majority of women don't use contraception because they need to prevent pregnancy for their health but because they don't want children at that particular point in time in their lives, for whatever reason, that's fine to me...

Alexa lists a number of cancers and other dire side effects linked to hormonal contraceptives:

Even Planned Parenthood lists the serious and potentially fatal side effects for contraceptives with estrogen like the pill, the patch and the NuvaRing as heart attack, stroke, having a blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain, or developing high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones, or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). (Interesting aside - Planned Parenthood lists these risks under the section labeled "What are the Disadvantages of xxx" and not under "How safe is xxx." Seems like it should be the opposite. Or both.)...

I encourage you to click through and read all three articles. I've just added Alexa Shrugged to the BatesLine blogroll, so you'll see new items in the series as they're posted.

MORE: The Heritage Foundation's blog has excerpts from the testimony of two women, Oklahoma Christian University senior vice president Allison Dabbs Garrett and Calvin College medical director and physician Dr. Laura Champion, who testified last week at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate. A key quote from Garrett:

There is a vast difference between the right to make a purchase for oneself and requiring someone else to pay for it.

And another pithy quote on the topic, from Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) on Twitter:

If you want contraceptives to be a personal matter, you probably shouldn't force other people to pay for it.

There have been many comments on problems with the count in the straw presidential poll taken at the Maine Republican municipal caucuses. Results from certain caucuses were excluded because the caucus was held outside the dates specified by the state party rules. In one case, a caucus was delayed because of bad weather, but the state party opted to announce the straw poll results on the date expected by the media, even though not all caucuses had been held.

Some supporters of a certain presidential candidate are convinced that the problems were deliberately designed to favor the former governor of a nearby state and deprive their candidate of the opportunity to claim a win. Many seem to believe that a caucus straw poll is just another way to have a primary, and they're upset that the results can't be certified like a real primary election.

The way Maine selects its delegates is like nearly every other state Republican party -- a series of caucuses and conventions beginning at the local level and working up to the congressional district and state level where delegates and alternates to the national convention are elected. What makes Maine, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri and other states different is that their elected national convention delegates may vote as they please. In Oklahoma and most other primary states, the national convention delegates elected at state and congressional district conventions are bound by the result of the presidential preference primary. (There are a few states, like Illinois and New York, where voters vote directly for delegates, who may be pledged to a specific presidential candidate.)

Before 1988, Oklahoma's delegates were unbound, as in Maine, but they were elected based on their allegiance to the candidate preferred by most state and district convention delegates. My recollection is that all of our delegates in 1976 and 1980 went to Reagan, despite a strong minority in 1976 that preferred Ford. (I was at the 1st Congressional District convention in 1976 at Nathan Hale High School Auditorium. Dad was the lone Wagoner County delegate and convention secretary that year, and in the minority as a Ford fan. In 1980 I attended both 1st District and state conventions.)

In the days when most delegates were unbound by primaries, it was important for caucus-goers to elect people they trusted, who shared their values, to be delegates at the county convention, and so on up the chain to the national convention. Someone running to be a national delegate might pledge to back a particular presidential candidate, but it was important to pick someone whose values you trusted, as the delegate always had the option of changing his mind at the convention. In the weeks leading up to the 1976 convention, Ford and Reagan targeted their campaigns at the 2,259 delegates, trying to hold on to their own and pry some loose from the other side. (The final tally was Ford 1,187, Reagan 1,070, Elliot Richardson 1, with 1 abstention. Here's the 1976 Republican roll call, as it appeared in the St. Petersburg Times, on Aug 20, 1976. All of Oklahoma's 36 delegates went to Reagan.)

In a state like Maine that doesn't bind its delegates, the straw poll is just an extra -- a way to check the mood of the state's Republican grassroots activists, using the excitement of the presidential campaign to boost caucus turnout, and fodder for a press release and national attention.

Here's a comment I posted at Maggie's Notebook and, in a slightly different form, in response to Slublog's post at Ace of Spades HQ:

I don't think this was by design at all. Precinct, county, and state Republican Parties are largely run by volunteers. In a year with less attention focused on every caucus, a sloppily tallied straw poll or a county convention rescheduled for weather would be no big deal.

It's important to distinguish between the caucuses and the straw poll taken at the caucuses. They're two different things. Even if there were no straw poll, even if there were a primary, there would still have to be caucuses as part of the process of electing Maine's delegates to the Republican National Convention. Municipal and county caucuses elect delegates to the state convention who, in turn, elect delegates to the national convention.

So if you're going to have all these Republicans gathering anyway, why not take a straw poll? And why not use the straw poll to drive up caucus participation?

What went wrong in Maine is that the national media, hungry for any numbers at all in a month without primaries, made a big deal out of the results, and the Maine party was unprepared for the onslaught of attention and the media's expectation of a rigorous result.

The only poll that really matters is a poll of Maine's elected delegation to the Republican National Convention. That won't be determined until May 6.


The Green Papers on the history of the formulas used to apportion national convention delegates to the states, and the origins of bonus delegates and super delegates.

St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press - Aug 19, 1976: 6th District Delegates Held Tight for Reagan: Describes a delegate who was a Ford backer but won his seat by pledging to vote for Reagan; he held to his pledge despite pressure to flip.

Spokane Daily Chronicle - Aug 19, 1976: State Delegate Gets Revenge: Anida Pithoud, National Committeewoman from Washington state, ousted from her post by conservatives at the state convention, delivered a seconding speech for Ford and was happy to see the Reagan majority the the Washington delegation disappointed. She complained that conservatives had been trying to take over the state party's central committee for 10 years and complained about the Reagan-bots in familiar terms:

She was one of only seven Ford delegates in the 38-member delegation. She maintained Reagan was able to capture the other 31 because of the participation of many people who "came in only on account of Reagan and will disappear now."

The (Pomeroy-Middleport, Oh.) Daily Sentinel - Jul 22, 1976: Reagan Raiding Ohio Delegates: Reports that Reagan had sent operative Jeff Bell to Ohio to lure away some of Ford's 91 delegates, while the Ford team went after Reagan's six Ohio delegates, arguing "that the President has a better chance of beating Jimmy Carter in November."

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will be speaking at ORU's Mabee Center next Monday, February 20, 2012, and in Oklahoma City as well. Here are the details from an email from the Oklahoma Republican Party:

Tulsa - 2:00 pm
Mabee Center, Oral Roberts University
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74136

Oklahoma City - 6:30 pm
Jim Thorpe Museum
4040 N Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

This event is free to listeners of a certain talk radio station -- and everyone else.

Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich, September 11, 2010, S3016602

BatesLine photo: Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich introduce the premier of America at Risk: The War with No Name, at the Newseum in Washington, D. C., September 11, 2010.

Rick Santorum at ORU audio

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Expect a Miracle (MDB20804)

Here is the complete audio in MP3 format of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's speech at Oral Roberts University's Mabee Center in Tulsa on February 9, 2012. The links lead directly to MP3 files. This audio came from my personal audio recorder, so the quality could be better. I'm posting it because no one else seems to have recorded or posted the intros, the Q&A, Santorum's closing remarks, or the final ORU disclaimer.

Rick Santorum listens to a question from ORU College Democrats president Jonathan Townsend (MDB20781) by Michael Bates, on Flickr

And if you prefer to download it all at once, here's the entire Rick Santorum at ORU program, from Kara Evans' first introduction to her final disclaimer.

Permission is granted to use excerpts of this audio, under the following conditions: (1) Provide a link to this entry; (2) cite www.batesline.com as the source of the audio; (3) email me at blog at batesline dot com with a link to where you've posted it.

ORU College Republicans president Kara Evans, State Rep. Pam Peterson applaud Rick Santorum as he prepares to speak at ORU Mabee Center (MDB20761) by Michael Bates, on Flickr

ORU College Republicans president Kara Evans, State Rep. Pam Peterson applaud Rick Santorum as he prepares to speak at ORU Mabee Center

Photos Copyright 2012 by Michael D. Bates. All rights reserved.

MORE: Don't miss Katherine Bates' guest opinion on Rick Santorum's visit.

I'm still working on my comprehensive report of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's speech at Oral Roberts University. In the meantime, I'm pleased to introduce a new contributor to BatesLine, who provides her own concise and insightful perspective on Santorum's visit to Tulsa. (I'm especially pleased to have a contributor who needs no editing whatsoever.)

Santorum sincere, straightforward
by Katherine Bates, apprentice pundit
Special to BatesLine

Katherine-20120207-250px.jpgAuthentic. Sincere. Straightforward. People who heard Rick Santorum speak at the Mabee Center on February 9, 2012 used all of these words. During his short speech, he captivated listeners, and received over ten standing ovations. He could hardly get more than a sentence out without the audience applauding. He spoke clearly, and he conveyed his points very well. Santorum is an amazing speaker, and doesn't avoid talking about certain issues or topics like most candidates.

One thing that stood out was his speech on equality, and that our rights are endowed by our CREATOR, and not by the government. So should the government be able to take away our right to choose our doctors, and our health insurance, and our medications? His answer? No, absolutely not!

Another topic Santorum spoke about was Affordable Energy. With gas prices today, this topic appealed to everyone.

At the end of his speech, he answered questions for ORU students. He delivered his answers well, and was patient with each of them. Though other candidates might have cowered away from these topics, Santorum had an immediate and firm answer as each question was thrown at him. In my opinion, we need someone like Santorum, who had his values straight from the beginning, for the next president of the United States.

Katherine Bates, 11, is a Tulsa-based writer, the author and illustrator of The Toads' Spring Fling, a children's story book, and Katrina, a science fiction short story. She has studied writing with Tulsa-based author Gina Conroy at Augustine Christian Academy and the Institute for Excellence in Writing through the Classical Conversations homeschool program. She is a member of the Tulsa County Impact 4-H Club.

Photo by Bland Bridenstine

UPDATE: Because of expected crowds, the Tulsa event has been moved to the "Baby Mabee", the TV production studio just to the east of the Mabee Center on the ORU campus, and the Oklahoma City event has been moved to the Magnuson Hotel and Meridian Conference Center, just south of I-40 on Meridian (this is several miles west of downtown OKC; Republicans will recognize it as the frequent location for state conventions).

santorum3.jpgRepublican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be in Oklahoma this Thursday, February 9, 2012, for Oklahoma Republican Party "Victory 2012" events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Here are the details:

Oklahoma City - 9:00 am
Magnuson Hotel and Meridian Conference Center
737 S Meridian Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73108

Tulsa - 1:30 pm
"Baby Mabee", east of the Mabee Center, Oral Roberts University
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74136

Oklahoma GOP chairman Matt Pinnell writes:

We are thrilled to welcome another Presidential candidate to the Reddest State in the Country! If you can win Oklahoma, you can win the conservative vote nationwide. We welcome our Republican candidates to Oklahoma over the coming weeks as they compete to win our "Reddest State" primary.

The state party hopes to see all the GOP presidential candidates appear at Victory 2012 events in the weeks leading up to the March 6 Oklahoma primary.

The Oklahoma Republican Party is asking for you to RSVP if you plan to attend either event.

Oklahoma has such a strong homeschool community (today is Home Educators' Day at the State Capitol), that I'd hope for a big turnout by homeschooling families for their fellow homeschooling dad.

Some links of interest regarding the presidential campaign:

Newt Gingrich had to know that he was not going to finish first in Florida and Nevada, so why not be prepared with statement that puts a positive spin on the results in preparation for likelier victories in the south on Super Tuesday? Stacy McCain chalks it up to Newt's narcissism:

The characteristic trait of the narcissist is his inability to accept responsibility for his own failures. Everybody likes to believe that they deserve credit for their successes, but no one wants to believe that they are at fault when they screw up. This is normal. Yet the damaged ego of the narcissist makes it impossible for him to acknowledge his own contribution to his failures. He cannot even admit to himself that he is at fault, which is why he attempts to focus blame on scapegoats.

And so when Newt starts pointing the finger, blaming others for his failures, portraying himself as the victim -- of Goldman Sachs, "money power," George Soros, "the elite media," Mormons (!) and a "blatantly dishonest" opponent -- even his supporters ought to recognize these unseemly eruptions as symptomatic of Gingrich's narcissistic tendencies.

Why do you think I warned you against jumping onto his bandwagon?

Victor Davis Hanson thinks Newt should have stuck with what was working for him:

Newt Gingrich's post-Nevada caucus speech included about three minutes of inspired moments about issues and ideas in his usual imaginative and intellectually robust style. So why does he not just stay with that -- given that he often seems more dynamic and glib than Romney in his attacks on Obama, and not long ago gained ground despite the attacks against him? Instead, he now turns ad nauseam to the tired reasons why he loses -- yes, including lots of Mormons in Nevada -- and ends up as Richard Nixon not going to get kicked around any more.

Hanson offers Newt a history lesson for perspective:

I don't understand why he thinks now losing to Romney in 2012 is solely due to Romney's innate deviousness in a way McCain beating Romney in 2008 was not -- given that Romney was about the same in both 2008 and 2012. Gingrich seems oblivious to the fact that McCain's style and history gave him advantages over Romney's money and hardball in ways Gingrich's own proven liabilities apparently do not.

Of course, it was McCain's Turn in 2008, and in 2012, it's Romney's Turn. The "It's His Turn" phenomenon partly reflects, on the part of Republican state and local leaders in places like New Hampshire and Florida, a preference for the familiar and a desire to get on the winning team early, but it also reflects four years of political capital building -- attending fundraisers for state and local parties and candidates, and collecting IOUs to be redeemed when the primaries roll around. Newt could have been doing that for the last 14 years, as the man who led the first Republican takeover of the House in 40 years, but I suspect he hasn't done much of it.

The Nevada Republican Party finally has all the results in from its 1800 precincts, and Romney, as expected, finished first without about 50% of 32,961 votes cast. Turnout in this binding caucus poll fell far short of 2008, when Romney won 51% of 44,315 votes cast in a non-binding caucus poll (for entertainment purposes only, as they say when they publish sports book odds in the paper). Unsurprisingly, Ron Paul's best showing was in the Kingdom of Nye, Art Bell's home county, home to Area 51.

According to the Green Papers, Nevada's delegates will be bound proportionally to the poll result, with no minimum threshold. They calculate the result to be Romney 14, Gingrich 6, Paul 5, and Santorum 3. The BatesLine delegate count:

Romney 73
Gingrich 29
Paul 8
Santorum 3
Uncommitted 2 (Huntsman's NH delegates)

Romney still needs 971 delegates for the nomination, and no one can clinch the nomination before April 24.


Buzzflash asks, "Why didn't Ron Paul's caucus strategy work in Nevada?" Likely answer: You can't win unless you have more supporters than everyone else, no matter how stealthy or strategic you are:

The Paul and Romney campaigns were the only ones to have a legitimate ground game in Nevada. The fact that Paul didn't easily outstrip Gingrich, who lacked Paul's months of preparation, doesn't bode well for his long-term strategy.

This news is likely to shock a few Ron Paul supporters: A Bilderberger is the biggest donor to Ron Paul's associated super PAC.

The largest donor to a SuperPAC supporting Ron Paul is Peter Thiel, the sort of ultra-wealthy, super-national figure Paul and his supporters love to hate.

Thiel -- who gave $900,000 to the pro-Paul group Endorse Liberty -- made his fortune as the co-founder of PayPal; he was also an early investor in Facebook, and is now a major player in the world of high-tech venture capital. He's also a devoted libertarian and devoted Republican: He hosted a fundraiser for the confrontational gay conservative group GOProud at his grand apartment off Union Square in 2010.

Thiel is also a member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group, the elite, invitation-only conference that's the frequent subject of conspiracy theories.

Your opportunity to shape the Republican Party's principles, personality, and personnel begins with tomorrow's Republican precinct caucuses.

Republican caucuses for most Tulsa County precincts will be held tomorrow morning, Saturday, February 4, 2012, at 10 a.m. Most of the rest of Oklahoma will hold precinct caucuses on Monday evening, February 6, 2012.

For the sake of convenience and efficiency, most Tulsa County precincts will be gathering at central meetings grouped by State House district. Some, however, will be held in individual homes, as was the tradition in years past.

Here is the current list of Tulsa County GOP precinct caucus locations and precinct officers.

This is not a comprehensive list, but here are the default locations for the House District central meetings. There are many, many exceptions. Saturday at 10 a.m. is the default time, but again, there are many exceptions. Consult the link in the previous paragraph or contact Tulsa County GOP headquarters at 918-627-5702 for definitive information about a specific precinct:

HD 11: New Life Assembly of God, 12215 N. Garnett, Collinsville
HD 23: Martin Regional Library, 2601 S. Garnett, Tulsa
HD 29: Crossroads Church, 2525 W. Main, Jenks
HD 36: New Life Assembly of God, 12215 N. Garnett, Collinsville
HD 66: Charles Page Library, 551 E. 4th St, Sand Springs
HD 67: Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St, Tulsa
HD 68: Crossroads Church, 2525 W. Main, Jenks
HD 69: St James Presbyterian Church, 11970 S Elm, Jenks (at 1:00 pm Saturday)
HD 70: Kaiser Library, 5202 S. Hudson Ave., Tulsa
HD 71: Brookside Baptist Church, 3615 S. Peoria Ave, Tulsa (at 2:00 pm Saturday)
HD 72: Kendall-Whittier Library, 21 S. Lewis, Tulsa
HD 73: Kendall-Whittier Library, 21 S. Lewis, Tulsa
HD 74: New Life Assembly of God, 12215 N. Garnett, Collinsville
HD 75: Southpark Community Church, 10811 E. 41st St, Tulsa
HD 76: Arrow Heights Baptist Church, 3201 S. Elm Pl, Broken Arrow
HD 77: Kendall-Whittier Library, 21 S. Lewis, Tulsa
HD 78: McKay Law Office, 2301 S. Sheridan, Tulsa
HD 79: Memorial High School, 5840 S. Hudson, Tulsa
HD 80: Arrow Heights Baptist Church, 3201 S. Elm Pl, Broken Arrow
HD 98: Southpark Community Church, 10811 E. 41st St, Tulsa

In Oklahoma, the main job of a Republican precinct caucus in a presidential year is to elect delegates to the county convention and to consider issues to include in the party platform. You can also put your name forward for consideration to serve on the county convention's platform, rules, and credentials committees.

On March 24, the county convention will elect delegates to the 1st congressional district and state conventions, and will approve a county platform. The 1st congressional district convention (on April 14) and state convention (on May 12) will elect delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

There will also be, at least in Tulsa County, a presidential straw poll that has as much weight and significance as the Iowa caucus presidential straw poll in January -- which is to say, it's non-binding. (Oklahoma delegates to the national convention will be bound by the results of the March 6 primary.)

Although precinct officials are scheduled to be elected only in odd numbered years, this year many precincts will also be filling vacant precinct officer positions, as the redrawing of precinct lines has moved some officers out of their old precincts and left some precincts without officials.

I'm hopeful that grassroots conservatives will show up to these caucuses to ensure that the Republican platform stands firm on conservative principles at all levels of government, rejecting on the one hand a squishy, apologetic, and barely conservative party and rejecting on the other hand a party in thrall to wacky conspiracy theories.

Newt Gingrich is challenging the plurality-takes-all allocation of Florida's 50 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Mitt Romney finished first in the January 31st primary with 46% of the vote, which means, according to rules adopted by the Florida state party rules, Romney gets all 50.

Republicans in Florida and from other states were complaining about the rule violation long before last Tuesday's primary. From January 25, in the Tampa Bay Times:

All it takes is a registered Florida Republican to file a protest with the RNC, and the party's contest committee would have to consider the issue when it meets in August just before the convention.

"August is going to be a very tense month for those of us on the committee on contests. We could be the group that everybody loves or everybody hates," said Fredi Simpson, an RNC member from Washington state who sits on that committee and also helped write the rules.

Like other RNC members, Simpson thinks the rules clearly bar Florida from being winner-take-all. At an RNC meeting in August, members of the Presidential Nominating and Selection Committee passed a resolution calling for the RNC to enforce its rules for proportional delegates on states like Florida that set primaries earlier than April.

"Florida ought to be proportional, and it is up to the RNC legal office to figure out how they do that. That was absolutely the intention when we wrote that rule," said Pete Ricketts, an RNC member from Nebraska who served on the RNC committee appointed in 2008 to draw up delegate selection rules for 2012....

Marc Cross, a GOP state committeeman from Osceola County, has already written to the RNC, urging it to review the matter, but the RNC has taken no action.

If Florida were allocated proportionally, Gingrich would be leading in delegates, by a big margin, and that lead would be guaranteed all the way to February 28, even if Romney got every single delegate in Nevada.

What's more likely to happen is a big mess that won't get cleaned up until right before the national convention in Tampa, and maybe not even then. The rules adopted by the RNC for the 2012 presidential primary process have succeeded in slowing down and lengthening the primary season, but the new rules failed to cover a number of scenarios, and the result could be a pre-convention mess involving a key swing state.

So let's explain the numbers first and then the rules mess.

In a statewide proportional allocation, Romney would have 30 Florida delegates, Gingrich would have 20, as Romney received roughly 60% of the combined Romney-Gingrich total. I'm assuming here the use of the typical 15% threshold, which a candidate would have to exceed in order to receive any delegates at all. Under that scenario, Santorum, Paul, et al., would not receive any delegates.

It should be noted that RNC rules don't mandate a maximum threshold to be considered proportional. Democratic Party rules mandate 15%, and many state Republican parties (including Oklahoma) have followed suit. New Hampshire uses 10%. Theoretically, Florida could've set 40% as the threshold; Romney would have received all the delegates under that scenario.

The two states combined, under the Florida GOP's existing rule: Romney 52, Gingrich 23. (Romney won 2 South Carolina delegates by winning a single congressional district.)

The two states combined, under a proportional rule for Florida: Gingrich 53, Romney 22.

Add in the New Hampshire results, and the revised total would be Gingrich 53, Romney 29, Paul 3, Huntsman 2.

(A combination of proportional allocation statewide and proportional allocation by congressional district would give yet a different total, but without results by congressional district, it's impossible to calculate.)

Florida has already been penalized for holding a primary prior to March 1. According to the rules of the Republican National Committee that govern the 2012 presidential nomination process, a state that binds delegates in any way prior to the March 1 loses half their allotted delegates, and their RNC members (state chairman, national committeeman, national committeewoman) won't be seated at the convention.

Florida's rules originally called for some of its delegation to be allocated winner-take-all by congressional district, and the remaining delegates winner-take-all based on the statewide primary result. But they also approved a rule that said, essentially, that if the RNC takes away half our delegation because of our early primary, we'll treat the remaining delegates as "at large" and will give them all to the statewide winner.

But there's also a rule requiring any state (except the four "carve-out" states) binding delegates prior to April 1 to allocate delegates proportionally. The rule doesn't specify how that should be done.

The four "carve-out" states are Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. They're allowed to bind delegates as early as February 1, and they're not subject to the proportionality rule. That's why Newt's challenge to the Florida allocation won't cost him any delegates in South Carolina, which was allocated winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district. Two of the carve-out states, New Hampshire and South Carolina, lost half of their delegates by going before February 1. (Iowa lost nothing, because they didn't allocate any delegates as a result of the caucus night straw poll. The real Iowa delegate decisions are made at the June state convention.)

The response by the RNC's general counsel to the question about Florida says, in effect, there's not much more we can do to them:

By holding its primary on January 31, Florida has violated Rule 15(b). Like the other states in violation, Florida is suffering the mandatory penalties under Rule 16: loss of fifty percent of its delegates and alternates, and the RNC members from Florida cannot serve as delegates. In addition, the RNC Rules Committee imposed every available discretionary penalty - penalties related to convention seating, guest privileges and hotel location. Thus, all of the penalties authorized under the Rules have been imposed on Florida.

The rules governing the 2012 process were the product of a committee appointed after the 2008 convention. Rather than have a fight at the 2008 convention over a new primary calendar, the convention rules committee rejected the recommended plan by the RNC rules committee, approved a rule creating a special committee to present a proposal for an up-or-down vote by the Republican National Committee.

Here is the rule change recommended by the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee in June 2010 and approved by the RNC in August 2010:

Rule No. 15: Election, Selection, Allocation, or Binding of Delegates and Alternate Delegates

(b) Timing.

(1) No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which a national convention is held. Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule.

(2) Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of the delegates selected on a proportional basis.

(3) If the Democratic National Committee fails to adopt a presidential primary schedule with the dates set forth in Rule 15(b)(1) of these Rules (February 1 and first Tuesday in March) by December 31, 2010, then the dates in Rule 15(b) shall revert to the dates set forth in the Rules as adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention.

You'll notice that they don't define the term "proportional basis."

The enforcement clause is Rule 16, which calls for the 50% penalty, loss of automatic seats for RNC members, and other potential penalties to be imposed by the RNC's standing committee on rules. That rule doesn't negate the "proportional basis" rule, but it also doesn't provide for additional penalties in the event a state violates both the proportional basis and calendar rules.

(You can read the complete Rules of the Republican Party here.)

Newt Gingrich is right to say that Florida has violated the proportionality rule. We'll see whether the Committee on Contests has the guts to enforce it.

Florida turned out as expected, but as I wrote right after South Carolina, there's no need for anyone of the remaining candidates to head for the exits. Mitt Romney's campaign is restarting the inevitability bandwagon. Pundits are falling over each other to be the first to declare that it's all over, that there's no path to victory for anyone else. (Haven't the pundits ever heard of suspense? That people stay interested only until they know the final outcome?)

Those of us who bother to read the rules by which the game is played know that the 2012 campaign has just begun. Only 87 of a possible 2286 delegates have been bound to a candidate at this point. 59 delegates -- 7 in New Hampshire, 2 in South Carolina, and 50 in Florida -- have been bound to Mitt Romney. He needs 1,085 more to clinch the nomination, and the earliest possible date he can mathematically accomplish that (assuming all other candidates drop out now) is April 24. More likely, because of many proportionally allocated states, it would be late May or possibly June 5 before anyone could cross the finish line. (Click the graph to see it full-size.)


The Associated Press includes Iowa in its count, but Iowa doesn't elect delegates until June, and, as I noted before the caucus, there's no necessary or mechanical connection between the caucus straw poll results and whom the delegates will support at the Republican National Convention.

The AP count also includes certain "super-delegates" as pledged to candidates, presumably based on public declarations of support. The members of the Republican National Committee -- state party chairman, national committeeman, and national committeewoman from each state and territory -- are ex-officio convention delegates. A few states require their RNC members to be bound by the result of the primary, but most send their RNC members unbound. RNC members from states that have been penalized for holding a primary too early -- New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Michigan -- won't have a vote at the convention.

The basis for the above chart is in the BatesLine GOP Delegate Count spreadsheet. I've followed the comprehensive information on delegate allocation found at the Green Papers website, differing only in treating any delegates elected based on their declared presidential preference as bindable delegates. For example, the Green Papers treats all 66 Ohio delegates as unpledged because they aren't legally bound to vote for a particular presidential candidate at the national convention. My count treats all the Ohio delegates (except the three RNC members) as bindable delegates, since the delegates are nominated by a presidential campaign and would have a significant personal stake in voting for the candidate who made it possible for them to attend the national convention.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2012 category from February 2012.

Election 2012: January 2012 is the previous archive.

Election 2012: March 2012 is the next archive.

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