The Republican National Committee has made some changes to its rules that some members say were based on Ron Paul supporters. Some Committee members said they were worried that Paul supporters would claim to back another candidate and then vote for Paul at the Convention.
Secretary of the Missouri Republican State Committee Pat Thomas is a member of the national rules committee.
“The rule No. 16 is one that the delegate is bound to their candidate and only once they get to the national … if they change their vote, their vote still goes for the candidate and the delegate will be unseated,” she says.
Thomas says the change was prompted by events in other states, and not by anything that happened in Missouri. She says a delegate would not be unseated at the will of the party.
She says any situation in which a delegate wants to support a candidate other than the one they agreed to at the caucus level should be dealt with before the National Convention gets underway.
“If you’ve got a situation or something that came up where you feel like you really can’t support that candidate, we need to work it out ahead of time, we need to apply for a waiver,” Thomas says. “What if the candidate, unfortunately, something tragic were to happen … they get out of the race or they pass away or health reasons, they’re no longer going to be able to be a nominee or be on the ballot? We need to be able to address those as they come up, and currently there just wasn’t a mechanism in place to protect the delegates and the people back home who sent them to be a delegate.”
Thomas says the other component to the rule change is a waiver exemption.
“What happens if the candidate drops out and doesn’t release people? So there’s a waiver in there that allows the party to apply for people to be able to say, ‘Look, because of this circumstance I’m going to need to change my vote.’ But, that all needs to happen beforehand,” she says. “What we’re saying is don’t bring this to the floor.”
Thomas stresses that nothing that happened in Missouri helped prompt the rules change.
“In Missouri we didn’t see this so much, but I think that’s because we tend to have a feel for people and at the local level we knew people, and if you weren’t quite sure about somebody you did a little investigating before you voted for them,” she says. “But, I think some other states are just in total chaos.”
The changes have not impacted the nomination of Mitt Romney for President of the United States.
“No, none,” Thomas says. “This would be the next convention. These are rules for the next convention. What we’re saying to people is this is how it’s going to be. You’re going to be disingenuous, you’re going to be penalized. We want you to truly represent the vote of the local person.”
Thomas says the Paul supporters in Missouri have been very good to work with and have not caused problems as organizers in other states say they fear.
“Ours conduct themselves more businesslike,” Thomas says. “They’re here about the business of the Convention. Some of them I see, they genuinely want to understand how rules and things are impacting them and what’s going on for the future and how they can be part of that … some of the Ron Paul (supporters) have been distracting from the process and I very much appreciate that ours have not been that way.”