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Caucus cancellation and delegate replacements – a threat to convention only candidates?

When they cancelled the Republican caucuses, party officials announced that all county and state delegates who were elected by their neighbors during the 2018 caucuses would remain in place.

However, since 2018 an unknown number of delegates have moved, resigned or are unable to serve this year. When precincts chose alternate delegates in 2018, the alternates were supposed to fill vacant delegate positions since they were elected to do that.

However, in certain cases mistakes have been made and alternate delegates were skipped over with the precinct chair choosing a new delegate not voted on by the people in that precinct. Furthermore, in cases where alternate delegates previously declined to replace an elected delegate, they were removed from the list and replaced with another person chosen by local party officials without a vote of the party members residing in the precinct.

Just how many party appointed delegates will be in place at the state and county levels is anyone’s best guess. A number of campaigns are concerned that appointed delegates will be chosen based on who they support rather than as impartial representatives of the people in their precinct. Some fear that this will favor incumbents since they have long-established relationships with party officers at the precinct, county and state levels whereas challengers do not.

It is hard to tell at this time if this is a serious problem or not but it is of special concern to convention only candidates since they only have one shot at the primary ballot unlike those who have successfully collected signatures.

If there are any shenanigans with delegate selection, which is possible since Republicans often play by “church ball rules,” it could decide the fate of Huntsman, Burningham, Newton and Hughes, literally dozens of candidates competing for U.S. House seats and for candidates in state legislative districts that cross county lines.

Are delegate replacements a widespread problem that candidates have to be concerned about?

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Ronald Mortensen

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