Monday, August 22, 2011

RLCCA Proposes CRP Open Primary Endorsement Rules

In June of 2010, the voters of California passed Proposition 14, thereby changing the manner in which (non-Presidential) primary elections are conducted in California. The RLCCA is helping the CRP respond to arrival of open primaries by proposing a system of rules that would maximize the opportunity for grassroots Republicans to participate in the process of choosing the Republican nominees prior to the open primary election.

Some background information:

Prior to the passage of Prop 14, California had partisan primaries. In the primary, registered Republicans would choose the Republican nominee, registered Democrats the Democratic nominee, and so on for the minor parties.

Proposition 14 changed this system to an open primary system, in which all candidates share a single ballot, any voter can vote for any candidate, and the top two candidates advance to a runoff race. This means it is theoretically possible that (depending on the leanings of a given district), in some cases there will be no Republican or Democratic candidate in the general election.

Proposition 14 was opposed by the RLCCA, the CRP, the California Democratic Party, and all the minor parties as well. This should not be surprising, as it is fairly clear that an open primary will dilute the ability of a party to choose its candidate for the general election. Despite unified opposition by all the political parties, the voters passed Prop. 14 anyway.

Following the passage of Prop. 14, the CRP has been considering various bylaws amendments to create a system of caucus or internal party elections to allow the CRP to "endorse" or "nominate" a single Republican candidate prior to the open primary election. Supporting
candidates is an essential task for a political party, and if the CRP cannot create a method for deciding which candidate to support, the CRP will lose much of its political relevance.

Various proposals have been considered, and thus far all of them have been rejected. The key difference between the various proposal are who gets to choose the Republican nominee. Some of the proposals make it very difficult (if not impossible) to deny re-nomination to a
sitting incumbent. Other proposal have given "veto power" for every local Assembly and Senate district to the CRP Board of Directors (a single small group of fewer than 20 well connected olitical insiders).

The RLCCA proposal decentralizes the nomination process, allowing each Republican county central committee to determine the best method for allowing local Republicans to participate in the process. The proposal guarantees that oversees military voters can participate, provides a method for aggregating the results from different counties, and prevents the CRP Board of irectors from interfering in local Republican politics.

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