Binding the Iowa Delegation

Iowa at the 2008 National Convention

Iowa at the 2008 National Convention

[Note: the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. For current information on delegate binding please refer to The Caucus and Delegates to the National Convention]

I am not going to re-visit the argument about how we got here. I am not going to discuss whether it is good or bad. But as chairman of the RPI’s Organization Committee, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what has happened at the national level and describe how the changes will affect the process here in Iowa.

After the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, the RNC Rules committee adopted a new rule on binding and allocating delegates. Under the new rule all delegates to the national convention will be bound. The rule also carved out four states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada), allowing them to hold caucuses or primaries before March 1st preserving Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status. Iowa’s delegation at the RNC was split on the vote.  Iowa’s National Committeeman and RPI Chairman voted in favor of the rule, Iowa’s National Committeewoman voted against the rule.

The relevant part of RULE NO. 16 reads:

Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, …

So, for better or worse, every Iowa delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention will be bound beforehand to vote for a particular candidate. All that remains is to determine the mechanism. This Saturday at the State Central Committee meeting, we will be considering the following amendment to the RPI bylaws.

Amendment to add a new Article VII to the Bylaws and renumber accordingly.

Article VII – Binding of National Convention Delegates

The Iowa delegation to the Republican National Convention shall be bound on the first ballot to cast a vote that reflects the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses. The Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, or his or her designee, shall cast the vote of the delegation on the first ballot, for those candidates who have been officially placed in nomination, in proportion to the statewide Iowa Precinct Caucus vote. The proportional delegate allocation shall be rounded to the nearest whole delegate. In the event that a delegate is unallocated due to mathematical rounding, the unallocated delegate vote shall be cast in favor of the candidate closest to the rounding threshold.

Under this proposed amendment, the RPI chairman will announce the vote of the Iowa delegation in the first round based solely on the math based on the outcome of caucus night. The chairman will not poll the delegation. All of Iowa’s votes will go to candidates who have officially been placed in nomination, so if a candidate drops out before the convention, the math is re-figured and Iowa’s votes are divided up among the remaining candidates. If there is a second (or further) round of voting, all delegates may vote for the candidate of their choice.

I would love to hear your input on this.


7 thoughts on “Binding the Iowa Delegation

  1. Either our caucuses are legitimate or they become irrelevant. Holding them to at least the first vote accomplishes that.

  2. If a candidate drops out how will the math be refigured? Will they take the number of votes for each remaining candidate add that number up and allocate based on the new numb er?

  3. As RNC rules require a candidate must have the written support from a majority of delegates in a minimum of eight states to be formally nominated, what if Iowa’s winner does not achieve 8 states to be formally nominated?

    Also, although Iowa must be proportional, the state SCC can set a threshold as high as 20% for a candidate to even obtain delegates, what % is Iowa proposing?

    • Lowell, to your first point candidates who are not formally nominated, either because they did not meet the ‘majority of 8’ threshold or because they dropped out will not have any votes formally recorded by the convention. That was true in 2008 when Ron Paul failed to meet the nomination threshold. The Iowa delegation cast votes for him but they were meaningless.

      Under these proposed rules, all of Iowa’s votes would be cast for candidates who have been formally nominated, based on their caucus night vote totals.

      As to the threshold required, Iowa has 30 votes in 2016. Given the large number of candidates, 20% is way to high. It is possible that the winner of the Iowa Caucuses could have less than 20% of the caucus night vote. States are not required to set a threshold. If we do set a threshold, it needs to be low so Iowa does not become a de-facto ‘winner take all’ state.

  4. Politics as usual. After this cycle I will no longer consider myself a Republican and if I wasn’t committed to the vice-chair in my county I would be done now. This is basicly telling conservative Christians that our party left us long time ago and assures that a white washed Rhino will get the nomination.

  5. Pingback: HawkeyeGOP | The Caucus and Delegates to the National Convention

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