Kennedy, Co-Founder North Central WV Tea Party
Early voting has begun in West Virginia and Election Day is May 8th. As many of you already know, the votes that actually help to determine who the presidential nominee of each party is are the votes cast by each state’s delegates to that party’s national conventions. Also, these
delegates write the official national party platform which will define what each party stands for over the next four years. Each party in each state decides how they want to select these delegates.
The Democratic Party in West Virginia decided to have a series of county conventions which select delegates to a state convention and then that state convention will select delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This process is already underway.
The Republican Party in West Virginia decided, however, to put
all the people who want to be delegates to its national convention on the
primary ballot and let the voters of West Virginia decide who their delegates will be. This process is going to be the focus of this blog, as it can be somewhat confusing.
Although we are selecting delegates to the Republican national
convention, independents (no party choice) can choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. You have to ask for the ballot you want, however. The poll worker is not allowed to ask you which one you want. You just have to tell them. Therefore, independents can have an effect on who the Republican convention delegates are from West Virginia if they vote in the Republican primary.
The first point of confusion is what those little names in parentheses mean. If you look at a sample Republican primary ballot, you will see that there are a lot of people running for convention delegate and that each of them either has the name of a presidential candidate after their name (Paul, Romney, etc.) or the word “uncommitted.” This tells you what this person will do at the convention if they are elected.
Those delegate candidates with a candidate name in parenthesis after their name, known as “committed delegates,” have committed to vote for that candidate at the convention on the first ballot. In recent history, there has not been more than one ballot at the convention, so by voting for a committed delegate you are essentially casting a vote for the candidate they support.
The other “uncommitted” delegate candidates have not made any
promises up front as to who they will vote for at the convention.
If you vote for an uncommitted delegate, you are essentially saying that
you trust that person’s judgment and you want them to go down to the convention and vote for whoever they think is the best potential nominee at the time.
The second point of confusion is that there are actually four separate races for Republican National Convention delegate on the
ballot this year. The first is the “at large”race where people are running statewide. So any one voting in the Republican primary anywhere in West Virginia will have the chance to vote for these same candidates.
You can vote for up to 19 of these candidates, although you are not
required to vote for 19. You can vote for fewer which can give your vote more power.
Local conservatives John Hartsoch, my wife Laura and myself are all
running to become at large delegates. Other tea party groups from around the state are also supporting the following candidates: Thorney
Lieberman, Edward Burgess, Patrick Morrisey (also a candidate for attorney general), Patricia Rucker, Lucas Bolyard, Charles Peck, Donna Holstine, Sandy Staats, David Huffman, and Joel Davis III.
The other three races are in West Virginia’s three congressional
districts. In each district, people will be running as delegates to the convention from that district only. You can vote for up to 3 of these candidates running in your district, although, again, you can vote for fewer. Local conservatives Diana Bartley (who is also a tea party endorsed WV House of Delegates candidate), Stephen McElroy, and Russ Snyder are running to become delegates from the First Congressional District. Andrew Sabak, who is a member of the Marion County Tea Party, is also running.
I hope that this explanation has helped to clear up some confusion and misconceptions about the process. Many states have not yet selected their convention delegates which means that the selection of good delegates from West Virginia is still very important. So let’s go out there and send some conservatives to the convention!
There are other people suggested by Tea Parties around the state. Here is a more complete list:
At large: 17 names – (Vote for 19)
Craig Blair (Uncommitted)
Lucas Bolyard (Paul)
Joel Davis III (Uncommitted)
Anne Dungan (Uncommitted)
Gary Dungan (Uncommitted)
Cindy Frich (Santorum)
Donna Holstine (Santorum)
David Huffman (Gingrich)
Ryan Kennedy (Uncommitted)
Laura Kennedy (Uncommitted)
Thorney Lieberman (Gingrich)
Patrick Morrisey (Uncommitted)
Bob Murto (Gingrich)
Charles Peck (Paul)
Patricia Rucker (Uncommitted)
Sandy Staats (Gingrich)
First Congressional District (Vote for 3)
Diana Bartley (Uncommitted)
Steve McElroy (Paul)
Andrew Sabak (Santorum)
Russ Snyder (Uncommitted)
Second Congressional District: (Vote for 3)
Donna Holstine (Santorum)
Robert Egtvedt (Uncommitted)
Congressional District (Vote for 3)
Mike Baisden (Uncommitted)