The Republican presidential nominee has rarely been decided this late. This has resulted in misunderstandings, especially given recent rule changes.
Selecting delegates started at district conventions. In early April, each congressional district elected three delegates and two representatives to the state convention nominating committee. That committee then proposed a list of delegates to be approved at the state convention.
Campaigns worked hard for delegates, but at the end of the district conventions almost all delegates were Cruz supporters. The list proposed by the nominating committee also reflected the dominance of the Cruz effort at the district level. In the interest of unity the list included caucus supporters of several candidates.
Three weeks later Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich suspended their campaigns. The number of delegates allocated to Mr. Trump under many states’ rules surged and Mr. Trump immediately became the presumptive nominee, not later as widely reported.
If the nominee had not been known until the national convention, and multiple candidates were nominated, new rules for Iowa’s delegates would have kicked in and they would have voted 8 for Cruz, 7 for Trump, 7 for Rubio, 3 for Carson, 1 for Bush, 1 for Fiorina, 1 for Huckabee, 1 for Paul and 1 for Kasich, as reported by The Gazette on May 22. However, the party’s new bylaws state,
“if only one candidate’s name is placed in nomination at the Republican National Convention, all delegates shall be bound to vote for such candidate on the first ballot provided that the candidate received votes in the Iowa caucuses.”
Mr. Trump will be the only candidate nominated, therefore, all 30 delegate votes will be voted for him, as the new bylaws also state:
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“The Chairman of the Iowa delegation, or his or her designee, shall announce the vote of the delegation in accordance with this Article.”
The assertion in The Gazette’s article that Mr. Trump was denied delegates was incorrect. All Iowa delegates, by rule, will have their votes submitted by the delegation’s chairman for Mr. Trump.
The Trump campaign, in an effort to unify the party, did not contest the proposed delegate list. Cruz supporters agreed to stay on the list and spend their own resources to travel and attend the national convention, despite the fact that none of their votes would go to Senator Cruz. This was a remarkable display of party unity. This is why the vote on the delegates at the state convention was nearly unanimous, and why there was no discussion or debate.
The Republican Party’s unity has been questioned because delegates “are free to vote how they choose on other matters, including the party platform, convention rules, and the vice presidential pick.” (Wall Street Journal, “Ted Cruz’s Backers Push to Shape GOP Convention,” May 24) Every national convention has areas of disagreement and debate. But who the Republican nominee is, is no longer in doubt. Because of this, Mr. Trump will control many aspects of the national convention. The same will occur at the national Democratic Convention under Mrs. Clinton.
The primary is over, the general election has begun.
• Eric Rosenthal, of Cedar Rapids, is chairman of the Iowa Republican State Convention Nominating Committee. Comments: EricAnnRosenthal@aol.com