State Republicans fractured by election of national delegates

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s 2012 GOP Convention here quickly grew out of hand and disorderly this morning, after dozens of frustrated delegates raised concerns over how the state’s national delegates should be elected.

The 1,500 delegates at the North Dakota GOP Convention this morning were divided for more than an hour before actual balloting began over who would represent the NDGOP at the Republican National Convention this summer. The results of that vote have not yet been announced.

Several delegates who support Ron Paul and Rick Santorum voiced multiple objections to the party’s method for determining the delegates, specifically because they felt they were being disenfranchised by the party’s traditional process.

Santorum won the most votes during North Dakota’s GOP caucus earlier this month; Paul came second, while Mitt Romney placed third. North Dakota’s caucus results were not binding, but party officials maintained again today the slate of delegates to the national convention would reflect the caucus vote.

However, Paul and Santorum supporters alleged the party’s recommended slate of nominated delegates predominantly favored Romney supporters.

Many times, the upset supporters delayed the proceedings as party leaders – and a seeming majority of the convention delegates – wanted to move forward.

Former NDGOP chairman Gary Emineth, who is in charge of Santorum’s campaign in North Dakota, said Romney supporters in the party establishment “hijacked” the process.

“This is not a fair election,” he said, later chastising party officials during a statement he offered on the convention floor.

A selection committee of the state party chose a slate of 25 nominees among 101 people who applied for the chance to represent the NDGOP at the national convention.

The 25 nominees the party chose were mostly familiar names – state officials and high-ranking NDGOP members, including: Sen. John Hoeven, Rep. Rick Berg, first lady Betsy Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

NDGOP National Committeewoman Sandy Boehler said that’s by design. The party’s nominees were chosen based on a weighted scale that heavily favors party-backers, donors and elected officials.

“You do want to reward the people that work tirelessly for the party,” she told the convention during the debate. “But I can tell you we did not know who was for who.”

But many young delegates said that process inherently leaves them out of the running – or at least, at a severe disadvantage – to be chosen to go to the national convention.

After several more nominees were offered on the convention floor, party officials sought to finally move on to a vote based on a pre-printed ballot of the selected 25 nominees. Any of the new nominations – which were displayed on two large screens in the Civic Center – could be chosen as write-in candidates.

However, Paul and Santorum backers asked multiple times for a new ballot – one which would list all the nominees alphabetically, so no preference would be given to any one nominee.

The objections repeatedly delayed the convention.

“Why can’t we have all names listed in alphabetical order on a printed ballot?”
asked District 47 delegate Karen Erickstad. “Out of eyesight concerns, spelling concerns and equal opportunity of every delegate here. Regardless of age, experience or monetary contributions, everyone has the right to have their vote count.”

Chairman Stan Stein and other party leaders responded to the concerns, reiterating many times how they were following their own party rules, the RNC’s rules and the rules of order for the convention.

Nonetheless, the debate grew hostile quickly, especially between Stein and those like him who wanted to move forward and frustrated delegates who demanded a change in procedure, which Stein repeatedly denied.

At one point, a delegate voiced concern that he couldn’t read the names of the nominees on the screens. Another delegate – who couldn’t be identified – abruptly responded: “Get your eyes checked.”*

After numerous rounds of voice votes and show-of-hand votes and more objections from upset delegates, the party moved forward with the written ballot they’d prepared.

As the votes were tallied, College Republicans gave a presentation and the Republicans gave a tribute to the late Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem, who died last fall.

The convention also moved on with the day’s endorsements, starting off with the U.S. Senate race.

Update 7:40 p.m. – Click here for the results of this morning’s vote.

*This article has been corrected to fix an attribution error.

21 thoughts on “State Republicans fractured by election of national delegates

  1. No, McCain won the nomination because he amassed so many delegates thanks to a winner take all process. He clinched the nomination on March 4th in 2008.

  2. This convention was an absolute embarrassment I’m not a Santorum supporter but I still believe that the 5% of delegates they received to go to the convention is not fair the process was hijacked by the establishment who sent “their” pre approved slate to national and don’t be naive these campaigns are organized and we know which delegates support who and at least 75% of them were NOT Paul or Santorum supporters that is a fact. This was by far the most unprofessional thing I have ever seen. No wonder the republican party had dwindled until Ron Paul started this movement corruption at the state level is at its maximum along with Washington. Wake up people

    • You got it wrong. Republicans, at a grass root level are fighting for freedom. Democrats have forgotten what it’s like to be free. It’s grand to see revolution in process. Something the democrat’s have forgotten.

  3. These internal shenanigans just show you how much of a political machine the GOP has become. There is no democracy, just power politics. Agree to what we tell you, or we will do e everything in our power to crush you. Berg was preordained & everyone who does not follow the party line will be marginalized.

    I do not know Sand from Adam but it is becoming fairly certain he will get my vote. Coronations are never a good thing in a democracy; they make for lazy candidates & bloated bureaucracies. If they have any hope of actually winning, the ND GOP needs some spring cleaning.

    I especially like the bit about the direct correlation between money given & your chances of becoming a national delegate. At least they are honest.

    Recall Uncle Al: It Does a Body Good .

  4. This is exactly the sort of me-first behavior that turns people away from the Republican party. If not turned away, it certainly creates fractures that are sometimes irreparable. Every person who wanted to be considered for the national convention should have been on the ballot along with the name of the Presidential candidate they support; or would support on the first ballot. Then vote. Shame on the party leaders for this procedure. Shame on our congressional delegation, the governor and our attorney general for allowing it to happen.

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  6. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one that caught that they are admitting that they are bought by the highest bidder. And you call this “democracy”? What is happening with the Romney campaign/GOP establishment is purely wrong.

  7. … and Romney and his banker buddies giving away “free” money buys elections again, right?

  8. This corruption will destroy the Republican Party if it is allowed to prevail.

  9. I knew that we’ve got the best Congress money can buy, but sadly, it’s also the best political party that money can buy, as well. Really do need a spring cleaning.

  10. I was invited to be a delegate by the 17 district of Grand Forks, but according to the written instructions used by the caucus monitors, I was in wrong district, because the county of Grand Forks made a mistake on how the district map and the caucus written description of which district I was supposed to vote in was wrong. I still don’t know what district I live in. Do I go according to the map or the written description.

    And as for the delegate choosing process, it seems the political strongmen and women don’t really want outside interference in the nominating, choosing, or governing process.

  11. I was at this convention.

    Another delegate – who couldn’t be identified – abruptly responded: “Get your eyes checked.”

    I am nearly certain that this “unidentified delegate” was Sandy Boehler – National Committeewoman. She is a member of the NDGOP Executive committee and she was on the stage when she said this.

    It seems the media is either not paying attention or protecting her. The entire convention was recorded, so it should be a simple matter of reviewing the video.

    If anyone can confirm or deny this, please do.

  12. I talked to Sandy after the incident and she firmly denied it was her. She said no one on the stage even heard the remark. It appears the statement came from someone in the crowd who was near a microphone, but who that was in particular can’t be determined.

  13. I was at the convention as a delegate. The only way this could have been averted would be for the Paul and Santorum delegates to be notified prior to the convention to vote for a preselected slate of combined delegates. That way each side would get something substantial and Romney would get little or nothing. We would have had to write them in. The way it actually turned out, Romney may get practically all the delegates even though he polled third in the beauty contest.

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  15. Kristen M. Daum,

    “I talked to Sandy after the incident and she firmly denied it was her. She said no one on the stage even heard the remark. It appears the statement came from someone in the crowd who was near a microphone, but who that was in particular can’t be determined.”

    Either Sandy or you are a liar but it does not change the facts that those on the stage were rude and uncivil throughout the night and Stan (he doesn’t deserved to be called sir, Mr. Chair, or Mr. Stein). Stan repeatedly violated Roberts Rules of Order (the idiot even lied to people and told them they needed a 2/3rds vote to table a vote on a main motion until a later time without making it a special order of the day). It didn’t matter if it was a motion to table or a motion to postpone to a time certain because only a majority was needed.

    Thanks for lying Stan and proving that you and your friends who were on the Committee that created the ballot are scumbags.

    You are also a scumbag, Kristen. If it wasn’t for the uncivil conduct of the Chair and those on the stage no one in the audience would have thought it was appropriate to behave the way some did. They were merely listening to the Chair telling them that delegates who were trying to get printed ballots were keeping them from Convention business when they weren’t.

    That is what inflames passions and get people to tell people to get their eyes checked. Thank you Stan for your uncivil behavior which is a reflection on your family.

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