How would a contested convention actually work?

With growing doubts about the strength of the current GOP field of presidential candidates, key operatives and anonymous Senators are considering the possibility of a “brokered” convention in Tampa for the Republican National Convention.

Calling it a brokered convention is “pejorative,” says Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute and an expert on the rules and procedures of the Republican National Committee. Blackwell would prefer to call it, simply, a convention that goes to a second ballot.

The more nuanced term preferred by Republican activists looking to Tampa is to call it a “contested” convention.

Rather than look at the likelihood of a contested convention in August, because, as Mr. Blackwell warned me, “Those who make their living with crystal balls, sometimes have to eat ground glass,” I asked him to walk me through the nuts and bolts of a multi-ballot convention.

Winning the Republican presidential nomination is all about delegates. Under current party rules, the nomination will be decided by 2,286 Americans — including 78 individuals from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

In non-binding caucus states, delegates may vote for whomever they please. By contrast, delegates from primary states are bound to vote for the state’s voters’ choice, regardless of their personal preference.

In some states, delegates are awarded proportionally based on votes, while other states have “winner-take-all” primaries. Finally, each states’ representatives to the RNC serve as delegates who are free to vote for their preferred candidate.

In Tampa, on the night of the first ballot, Speaker John Boehner, who, according to the rules of the RNC will chair the convention, will announce the roll call of the states. At this point, each state will announce whom their delegates are voting for.

If none of the candidates wins the 1,144 delegate votes needed to clinch the nomination, Speaker Boehner will call for a second ballot. All of the delegates who were bound during the first vote based on their state primaries will be released to vote for whomever they please.

If the second ballot doesn’t produce a nominee, the voting will continue until someone wins.

“The danger” with a multi-ballot convention, says Blackwell, “is that someone will suggest that some sinister deal has been made.” The key to avoiding such a perception, he believes is to allow delegates “to vote, unimpeded, for the candidate they want to win.”
With only 225 delegates committed so far, the nomination is anything but decided. Could Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum lock up the nomination before the convention? Could delegates from U.S. territories like the U.S. Virgin Islands or the American Samoa cast critical votes? Could an as yet unnamed candidate ride in on his or her white horse to save the Republican Party in Tampa?

Only time can tell.

Comments

Comments

  1. test1234 says:

    Appreciating the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Polititainment

Celebs gin up youth votes for midterms
THE HILL – With young voters more apathetic about voting and government than ever, several organizations are trying to woo the “selfie generation” to the polls this fall. “About half of those who vote in presidential elections do not vote in midterms,” explained Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that partners with musicians […]
Maher to Cheney: light yourself on fire

As Hunter S. Thompson despised Richard Nixon with every drug-influenced fiber of his being, so Bill Maher carries on the torch for media provocateurs.

Colbert announces plan to defeat ISIS
President Barack Obama might not have a strategy for defeating ISIS in Syria, but never fear,  comedian Stephen Colbert has him covered. Colbert announced a unique plan Thursday night that involves raising Ronald Reagan from the grave, a captive radio audience and Monty Python-esque horse sound effects. “Remember in 1938 the radio broadcast of ‘War […]
Brand: ISIS better than conservatives
Actor Russell Brand took to Youtube Wednesday to compare terrorist group ISIS to conservatives, eventually coming to the conclusion that conservatives in power were worse than ISIS. Brand was recording yet another video aimed at attacking Fox News when he made the statements about ISIS. He was responding to Fox host Greg Gutfeld’s comments about Brand’s […]
Biden congratulates 'Veep' on Emmy win
From one Vice President to another… Vice President Joe Biden took to Twitter Tuesday to congratulate actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Emmy win. Louis-Dreyfus snagged her third consecutive Outstanding Actress in a Comedy series win Monday for her portrayal of a fictional vice president on HBO’s “Veep.” Last year, the VP picked up the phone […]

White House

Obama: The world seems really messy because of ‘social media’

President Barack Obama, speaking at yet another fundraiser with a script that's been recycled more than a Hollywood romantic comedy, had an unlikely culprit for the world's problems.

White House scrambles to control the fallout from Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ comment
It’s hard to imagine that there was any other reaction than full panic from White House staffers after President Obama uttered a fateful gaffe Thursday afternoon, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” The line quickly exploded on Twitter and on television — though not quite as much as the president’s tan suit — as it […]
GOP: ‘He’s not a king’
THE HILL – Whether lamenting the so-called vacationer-in-chief’s swing of a golf club or criticizing his handling of the healthcare rollout, Republicans are getting in the habit of comparing President Obama to a monarch. “It’s one thing after another. You know he says he has no choice but to act. He says he has a pen […]
Obama’s Democratic fundraising just might ruin Labor Day weekend for the rest of us

Barely having returned from a 15-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama will spend is Labor Day weekend traveling to support his Democratic friends. The problem is, this means that Americans planning to take seaplanes to East Hampton, Montauk, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket won't be able to travel themselves.

White House flirt Joe Biden turns on the charm for 108-year-old veteran Lucy Coffey

Joe Biden continues to brand himself the White House flirt. In a recently released video of Biden's July 25 meeting with Lucy Coffee, the vice president kisses the 108-year-old war veteran on the cheek and hand and tells her, "I'm the guy that loves you."

Congress

Cruz highlights issues for 2014, 2016 elections
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) elicited huge cheers from the audience at the Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” Saturday when he vowed Republicans would take back control of the U.S. Senate and “retire” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I’m convinced we’re going to win in 2014 and 2016 is going to be even better,” […]
IRS says Lerner's Blackberry 'destroyed'

A senior IRS lawyer has said in a sworn declaration that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun to investigate her involvement in IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Youth impact reason enough to pass jobs bills
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is in the midst of releasing 40 reasons over the course of 40 days that the Senate should take up the 40 jobs bills the House has already passed. While most of their reasons have focused on general unemployment and economic growth statistics, they turned their attention […]
UNEARTHED: Archival footage of Harry Reid smiling

From appearances, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derives little pleasure from his job, perhaps a deputy to the paragon of joylessness. But Red Alert Politics has dug into the archives to demonstrate that it wasn't always like this.

Rubio: Obama action would kill immigration reform
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is urging President Barack Obama to forego taking executive action on immigration, warning that would kill any chance for comprehensive immigration reform. “If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future,” […]