SCC Meeting Update

As I reported in my last post, the State Central Committee met last weekend in Ames. In this post I would like to update my readers on the results of the meeting.

The Organization Committee met and we discussed how to choose National Committee Delegates. The committee approved moving the selection of the nomination committeee from the Friday night before the state convention to the district convention. The nominating committee will meet along with all the other state convention committees in Des Moines the week (or two weeks) after the District Convention. The nominating committee will be required to report its slate in the tabloid to be distributed in advance of the State Convention. The State Convention rules should make it relatively easy to modify the slate from the convention floor. I am not sure of a better way to do it.

I also made a motion that did not pass. I suggested that we do away with the the Friday night District Nominating Convention. I said that district business should be done at the district convention … unfortunately I lost that debate by a realtively large margin. Just to be snarky I moved that we move the SCC election to the Friday night meeting. I suggested that the very same arguments for keeping the district delegation elections on Friday also applied to the SCC elections. That vote went down 15-1. Oh well, I guess Don Quixote is my hero.

In other business, we finalized the rules for Straw Poll participants. No one will be excluded, anyone who has a campaign or exploratory committee and can come up with the dollars cna participate in the Straw Poll.

As far as redistricting goes, on the SCC, we have agreed that we will all work in our newly defined districts based on our residency. The prevailing argument was that we will all be going through the caucus to convention process in our new districts. Starting with the precinct caucuses we will all be working in our new districts.

In an earlier post, I listed the new district assignments incorrectly. Jeremiah Johnson has sinced moved to Scott County and Tim Moran is or has moved into the new Fourth Distirct. Tim works for Congressman King so he is moving into King's newly aligned district. The actual SCC assignments are:

  1. Chelle Adkins,  David Chung
  2. Trudy Caviness, Emily Lofgren, John Ortega, Jeremiah Johnson
  3. Wes Enos, David Fischer, Gopal Krishna, Monte Shaw
  4. Drew Ivers, Bill Schickel, AJ Spiker, Craig Williams, Tim Moran

Chelle and I will be working with the counties in the First District during the Caucus to Convention process.

The meeting ended with a tour of the Staw Poll and Debate sites.

There is one remaining piece of business left over from this meeting. John Otega was in the process of making a motion regarding SCC members serving on campaigns. Since we had to leave for the tour (the busses were hired and the venue staff was expecting us) we decided to hold a 'special  meeting' to consider John's motion.

There has been quite a bit of buzz about the topic, my friend Art posted on it at The Conservative Reader and Kevin Hall wrote on the same topic at the Iowa Republican. I am interested in hearing readers' thought on this issue. I will share my thoughts in a future post.

The SCC and Choosing National Convention Delgates

One of the lingering controversies from the 2008 State Republican Convention is the selection of National Convention Delegates. I posted about this twice in 2008 (here and here).

In the past the selection process has worked like this:

  • Each congressional district elects 3 delegates and 3 alternates at a Friday night district nominating convention held the night before the State Convention
  • At the same district nominating convention each district elects 2 members to the State Nominating Committee.
  • The State Nominating Committee comes up with a slate of at-large delegates and alternates.
  • The slate is posted the next morning and the state convention approves the slate.

In reality the process works like this:

  • A secret cabal puts together a slate of district delegates and alternates in general they win about 75% of these elections
  • The same cabal uses all of its lobbying power to elect the members of the state nominating committee in most years they win all of these elections.
  • Once these nominating committee members are chosen they meet (often after midnight) in secret and rubber stamp the slate of at-large delegates and alternates created by the cabal.
  • The slate is then posted in two obscure locations in the convention hall in order to meet the requirements set out in the convention rules, but not visible enough to allow delegates to spend time contemplating alternatives.
  • The chairman of the nominating committee unilaterally shuts off debate in violation of the rules.
  • The convention then approves the slate.

The 2008 convention was unique in a couple of ways. In the 2nd District we elected a nominating committee member who was not on the slate. At the state convention the slate was modified from the floor. After the convention the cabal modified the delegation. So the common wisdom has always been that if you want to go to the National Convention, you have to ask the cabal.

[[By way of full disclosure, I have been on all sides of this issue. I have chaired the nominating committee, I have fought against the cabal, I was elected by my district to the national convention and I have been a part of the cabal. In fact the word cabal is probably not fair, the cabal is simply a well-organized group that uses its influence and organizes its people to meet its political ends.]]

Enough complaining. The State Central Committee will soon be working on plans for the 2012 caucus-to-convention process. I am on the SCC Organization Committee so this is an area we will be discussing. I am writing this post to get input on the process.

Among the reforms I am suggesting is that we do away with the Friday night nominating conventions. I believe that district business should be done at the regular district convention. The district conventions have a larger turnout than the Friday night nominating conventions. I believe that holding the election for district delegates and the nominating committee should occur at the district convention when the largest number of delegates are present.

I also believe that the nominating committee should meet the week after the district convention along with the rest of the district committees. The committee's slate should be published in advance of the state convention in the tabloid along with the reports of all the other committees. Individuals or organizations who want to modify the at-large slate will have an opportunity to organize before the state convention and should be given an opportunity to modify the slate from the convention floor.

Critics have told me that adding the elections to the district convention would make them run too long. I can relate since in 2008 my district's Friday night nominating convention went until 2am. However by tweaking the rules (either limiting the number of rounds or requiring only a plurality) I think the issue can be managed.

Others have said that we should do away with the nominating committee altogether. I don't disagree but I have no idea how to make it happen. I have trouble imagining how we could hold an election for 20 or more people. Imagine having 50 people running for 25 slots if each one got 1 minute to speak … see what I mean

I am open to suggestions. At the SCC meeting, I will be urging that we do away with the Friday night nominating convention. I will push for requiring the the nominating committee to meet with the other district committees and publish their slate in advance of the convention.

It's not perfect and I am open to suggestions on this one. My early sense is that on the SCC I am in the minority on getting rid of the Friday night nominating convention. I would love to hear your input.

P.S. We are also likely to do away with the State Organization Committee in which case the SCC Org committee would organize the State Convention.