One of the nice things about being retired from the Republican State Central Committee is that I do not have to parse my words. Since I am no longer in leadership, I don’t have to worry about people thinking that I speak for the Republican Party of Iowa. I never did and I do not now.
Imagine my surprise when at the convention, several reporters came up to me and ask me about the walkout by the Iowa delegation. I opened up Facebook and saw several posts either congratulating or excoriating the Iowa delegation for this action. The problem is:
There was no walkout – I was there on the floor
Do not believe what the media is telling you. There was no walkout. Let me tell you the real story.
First a disclaimer. I voted for Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucuses.was elected by the Republicans of the First Congressional District to be a delegate here in Cleveland. I made no secret of the fact that if Donald Trunp did not get 1237 delegates, I was going to try and help Ted Cruz win the nomination. But I also resolved that I did not want the RNC changing the rules to bring in a white knight candidate someone like a Romney or Ryan to be the nominee. I have been consistent I am #NeverHillary, not #NeverTrump. I believe that the Iowa delegation is bound to vote according to the bylaws of the Republican Party of Iowa and I helped craft those bylaws.
So, what happened today? I was part of a movement to call for a Roll Call vote on the Rules. Let me be clear, I do not want to unbind the delegates. But I have concerns about the rules. A lot of it is minutiae but some issues like encouraging states to hold closed primaries, continuing the tradition of making rules committee members available to their constituents, not consolidating power in the RNC or chairman. But all of these are important.
In order to make this happen supporters got signatures from a majority of delegates in 11 states including Iowa. The picture above is the Trump and RNC team whips working to get delegates to withdraw their signatures. In the vote on the rules, the chairman took a quick vote and ignored calls for a roll call and then left the stage for some time. Then the chairman came back and said that 3 states had rescinded their signatures and there were not enough states supporting the motion for it to be considered. Then the chairman did something totally inappropriate … he toke a voice vote on the motion that he had just told the convention was out of order. Then he declared that they ‘ayes’ had prevailed. Thats when thing really got crazy.
I have chaired portions of numerous state, district and county conventions and I can tell you that as a chair it is very difficult to tell the out come of a close voice vote. The problem was THE VOTE SHOULD NEVER HAVE OCCURRED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
As for the walk out, Wes Enos and I did indeed walk out shortly after the vote. The reason is, we’d been in the hall since the beginning and the rules vote was the only significant business of the morning session. We both went to seek out alternate delegates and trade credentials to give them a chance to get on the floor.
Now there may be pictures (like this one) of empty seats in the Iowa Delegation. Obviously there were several empty seats. But they do not tell the whole story. I actually think there were three reasons for those empty seats:
- Several of the most well known leaders in the party were (perhaps rightly) concerned about being on TV or in still pictures in the middle of an apparent revolt.
- Some of the high-ranking folks who supported the roll call were elsewhere in the hall negotiating with the Trump team.
- Chairman Kaufmann said in the Des Moines Register that ranking delegation members were meeting with the RNC to preserve First in the Nation.
There were empty seats but there was no walk out.
[[Note: I have been told that two delegates did walk out. I do not know who they are and they did not make a fuss about it because I was on the floor and had no idea that it happened.]]