County GOP to pick presidential delegate
Who’s going to run is still a secret.
By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: January 2, 2008
The Teton County Republican Party will convene Saturday to choose its delegate to vote for a presidential nominee at the GOP’s national convention.
Wyoming will be the second state, after Iowa, to choose the delegates that will eventually determine the Republican Party’s candidate for president. With national attention is focused on New Hampshire and Iowa as the presidential nomination process begins, Wyoming is garnering little of the limelight.
The state GOP voted to move up its caucus in an effort to garner more attention from candidates even though the national party opposed the move. In response, the national party stripped Wyoming of half of its usual 28 delegates.
Potential delegates are nominated at the event. County Republican Party Chairman Joe Schloss said he had heard from a few people who may be interested in running for the position but did not want to speculate on candidates prior to the election.
“I don’t want to give an edge to anyone,” he said.
The caucus process is more complicated than a primary election, in which voters select the candidate they prefer. In the caucus, voting precinct representatives select the delegate.
During the last election cycle, voters elected a precinct committeeman and precinct committee woman to represent them at the county convention.
In December, more than 100 Republicans met at the Antler Inn to choose one additional person to represent each precinct at the county convention for a total of three representatives per precinct. Those three representatives from each precinct will vote at the county convention to elect one delegate to the national convention.
National delegates do not have to declare which candidate they plan to vote for at the convention, but many do commit to a specific candidate in hopes of earning the support of that candidate’s backers, Schloss said. Even if they declare support for a candidate, delegates may change their mind, Schloss said, but if they do so, they risk angering the voters who they were elected to represent.
A total of 12 national delegates are selected at county conventions statewide because counties are paired and alternate selecting delegates. The remaining two national delegates will be chosen at the state convention in late May.
Usually the state party chair and the national committeeman and committeewoman —which is Teton County’s Jan Larimer — are automatic delegates to the national convention. However, the Republican National Committee explicitly barred those three positions from voting at the national convention when it penalized the Wyoming GOP for changing its caucus date.
In addition to choosing a delegate to the national convention, the precinct representatives will vote on a platform and resolutions for the county party. A platform is a set of statements outlining values and goals for the party in the upcoming election cycle. Each county party brings its platform to the state convention where delegates vote on a state platform. That platform then goes to the national convention for inclusion into the national GOP platform.
The local convention is open to all registered Republicans in the county. It begins at 8 a.m. at Snow King Resort in the Grand Ballroom.
“The entire process, both the state delegate selection process and the national delegation selection process is truly democracy in action,” Schloss said. “It is part of the political process, and it is one that works for the Republican Party and we are proud of that process.”