North Dakota GOP Electing Delegates Who will be “Free Agents” at the Republican Convention – 4/2/16

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Here’s a rundown on how North Dakota will determine its 28 Delegates to the Republican Convention. It’s a Party process, and the bottom line seems to be that they will elect delegates who will essentially be unbound headed to Cleveland in July. That will make for a lot of lobbying of these delegates by all the candidates leading up to – and at the Convention:

CNN

. . . The small number of delegates from North Dakota would hardly be an issue in any other election year. But with Trump hewing to a narrow course to the 1,237 delegates needed to the secure the nomination, and anti-Trump forces achingly close to denying him that, every state and delegate counts.

And the fight for North Dakota’s delegates is only starting — unlike most other delegates, they will not be committed or “bound” to any candidate on the first ballot heading into the convention. Instead they will be free agents, able to vote for whoever they choose at the convention in Cleveland. . . .

WASHINGTON POST

. . . Who has the advantage? Nobody claims to know. While the standards for delegate selection seem to favor more traditional, organized Republican campaigns – and to cut toward Cruz – the Texan has not locked this state down.

“Before he dropped out, Ben Carson was probably the most popular candidate in the state,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), the state’s sole congressman, who is not running for a delegate slot. “I still have my Carson bumper sticker on my car.”

That matters, because Carson will spent almost 24 hours in Fargo lobbying for Trump. He’s likely to meet delegate candidates in Trump’s Ramada hospitality suite. (Each candidate has a similar suite.) And opinions differ on whether Trump lost ground this week after a widely covered gaffe on abortion.

“This is a very, very pro-life state,” explained RNC committeeman Curly Hoagland.

At the same time, North Dakota defeated a 2014 ballot measure that would have defined life as starting legally at conception, and Cramer didn’t see damage from Trump’s tossing and turning over whether women should be “punished” for abortions. When Cramer held a March straw poll for Republican voters, Trump won it easily; the combined vote for Trump and Carson topped 50 percent.

The problem for Trump was that he didn’t have a primary to win.

“The straw poll was more reflective of the people who aren’t here,” Cramer said. “That’s one of my irritations with all this. The people who don’t have the means, or time, or the circumstances to stay here and pay for a hotel don’t get a vote.”

Seriously, does somebody win or something? Not really. While one campaign may come out of Fargo able to point to an advantage in delegates – having gotten one to 25 known allies elected – the delegates will technically be bound to no one. They can keep their opinions quiet and spend three months being plied by candidates. . . .

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