Sunday, April 22, 2012

Missouri's 2012 First Congressional District Republican Convention

David Stokes was Elected to be the GOP
Presidential Elector from MO1
The 2012 First Congressional District Republican Convention of Missouri was held at Forest Park Community College Saturday. It began at 10AM and dragged into the afternoon. The convention seemed to proceed at a glacial pace most of the morning. There was some confusion about how long the room rented for the Convention was available. Ultimately the convention moved outside briefly before the room was secured for the afternoon.

David Stokes of the Show Me Institute was elected to be the Republican Presidential Elector from Missouri's First Congressional District. A unity slate of delegates was elected to represent the 1st CD at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer. That means that Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum each received one delegate and one alternate delegate.

I recorded about an hour and forty-five minutes of the convention (podium angle or audience angle). The batteries in both of my cameras gave out around the same time, so I was unable to get the whole thing.

The Convention had some controversy. Two Ron Paul delegates, Luke Rohlfing and Steve Gleason, were challenged. Rohlfing was deemed ineligible and not seated at the convention, while Gleason won a vote with overwhelming support to secure his seat. Both young men offered impassioned defenses of their right to participate in the Convention.

Gleason's eligibility to serve as a delegate was challenged because, it was alleged, he claimed to be a "Libertarian" on his Facebook page. The body voted to seat Gleason. He recieved 78 votes of a possible 102 (with an abstention for the seat Gleason ultimately won). Noteably, Missouri's Auditor, Tom Schweich, voted to seat Gleason.

Rohlfing is a 17 year old resident of St. Louis County. His eligibility to be a delegate to the 1st CD GOP Convention was challenged because he is not yet the voting age--18 years old. Missouri allows 17 year olds to register to vote if they will be 18 by the time of the general election. Rohlfing made an impassioned plea in his own defense, but it was not enough to overcome the rule of the Temporary Chairman.

The call to convention is a little ambiguous on this point. In particular, it reads:
Only strong and faithful Republican voters, residing and registered to vote in the district involved, shall be allowed to participate in any caucus or convention. Only Republicans who are registered voters residing in the district of their election shall be elected as delegates or alternates. No delegate shall cast a fractional vote.
Rohlfing was "registered to vote" but I can understand the point of the Temporary Chairman that he's not a "registered voter". However, this kind of legal hair splitting only serves to drive wedges between Republicans.

While I disagree with the Temporary Chairman's decision not to seat Rohlfing, I can understand why and how he and others reached that decision. However, the attempt to expel Gleason was frivolous and should never have been brought.

It took almost an hour and forty-five minutes to constitute the body. It seems to me that the Gleason challenge was a dilatory tactic designed to further the objectives of one faction by potentially expelling a Ron Paul delegate while also "running out the clock".

Rohlfing obviously has many caucuses and conventions ahead of him. Gleason was also on the younger side of the mean age of Saturday's conventioneers. Bill Hennessy recently pointed me to some advice which the Missouri GOP should heedNever piss the young people off, because they grow up. -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Photos from the Convention:

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