Florida CD 14 Caucus Results
Letter Written by:
Date of Letter: 2012-02-20
Politics: Republican Campaigns
On February 15, 2012 I attended the Congressional District 14 caucus vote for presidential delegates in accordance with Republican Party of Florida delegate selection rules and as affected by rules of the National Republican Committee. This relates to the recent Florida Republican Presidential Primary where the winner gets all the delegates pledged to winner for the first three ballot votes at the upcoming Tampa Republican Convention. The 14th covers Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties. Each County Chair along with 2 State Committeemen/woman from those counties got to vote. The State Executive Committee CD 14 Chair presided over the voting. About 40 submitted applications to become delegates or alternates. About 5 applicants’ spoke. It was a given that elected party regulars favorable to Romney would win. It was also certain the Ron Paul supporters, like me, would be not rewarded with a delegate.
Now it starts getting complicated. Actually this meeting only votes for 2/3 of the delegates. The other third are picked, at a later date, by the Executive Board of the State Executive Committee. Thus, the local primary voters loose control to party regulars who live outside CD 14 who elect the at large delegates. In total, Florida (based upon a previous population) has 27 CD’s with 3 delegates from each CD, plus 10 Base at Large, plus 4 Bonus, plus 3 Party Leader for a total of 99 Delegates. One third of the 99 are At Large Delegates. (There are 96 alternates). However, due to the RPOF rule breakage the national committee has penalized Florida of 50% of the delegates. This obviously reduces the value of each primary vote. It also means that the vote for Delegate One, Alternate One, Delegate Two and alternate Two at the above mentioned caucus vote is non binding. That is, the reduction of delegates allows the Chairman of the RCOF to elect any two from the previously elected four. This further removes the primary voter from delegate selection.
It was very clear that all 25 or so who attended the caucus were well intentioned and highly motivated. Several mentioned the Constitution. At least it was mentioned. My major criticism of the primary/caucus voting and outcome is that the RCOF has decided to centralize power into Executive leadership. They have taken away 1/3 of the election away and given it to themselves. And, secondly the RCOF broke national rules knowing the result would be the loss of ½ of Florida Delegates. This disenfranchises all Republican Primary Voters. I would like to mention that the US Constitution with Bill of Rights is in large part a populist document, later via amendments a more populist document, which promotes the idea of the peoples right to vote and that each vote is a whole vote. And thirdly, they made the state a winner take all state which has disenfranchised Gingrich, Paul and Santorum primary voters. All candidates deserve to bring their earned proportional delegates to the RNC Presidential Convention in Tampa. It is not right that most Florida Republicans will have no representation in Tampa. Delegates need be allotted as earned in each CD or in another proportional manner. How can Republican leadership expect boots on the ground when they have taken away the value of the votes and disrespected those with the boots? And, lastly why not get the Republican Party closer to the people and make it a caucus state which energizes and creates leaders?
James Arft, Cape Coral