CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas thinks this election cycle has brought to light issues in the primary process that should be addressed before 2020.
“I do believe this entire election process this year has keyed up a very thoughtful conversation that needs to be held following this election cycle,” Lucas told Hoppy Kercheval on Thursday’s edition of MetroNews Talkline. “And that is how delegates are allocated around the country by some popular vote.”
Lucas did qualify that by saying GOP voters in West Virginia can directly elect their delegates on election day–meaning they have a better shot at electing a delegate who accurately represents their ballot cast in the popular vote.
“In West Virginia, we have the opportunity to vote directly on the ballot for the individuals who will be representing us at the national convention,” he said. “In West Virginia, there are no smoke-filled rooms. There’s no back room deals on who gets to go and cast their votes.”
There are mounting concerns that neither Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will be capable of securing 1237 delegates on the first ballot at the GOP National Convention in Cleveland this summer. In that instance, an open or brokered convention would ensue. Many of the “pledged” delegates would immediately unbind on a hypothetical second ballot or third ballot–becoming eligible to vote for any candidate of their choosing–maybe.
That “maybe” depends on an important rule from the 2012 Republican National Convention that doesn’t permit the delegates to nominate a candidate who has not secured popular vote victories in at least eight states.
That rule can be changed before the vote, and it’s something Conrad Lucas said he will oppose if the situation arises.
“At this point, I’m going to vote against any rule changes because I think it’s difficult for us to explain to the public that we’re changing rules in the middle of the game,” he said.
There has also been speculation that Ohio Governor John Kasich, or even a candidate who didn’t run for the nomination–like 2012 candidate Mitt Romney or Speaker of the House Paul Ryan–could emerge victorious at a contested convention. But that would require the rule change.
“I think that if we were going to change any rules, it needed to have been done well before the Presidential election process for 2016 began. I don’t think it’s fair.”
Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island vote on Tuesday. In total, 15 states, including the Mountain State, are still up for grabs between now and June 7. This totals 674 delegates, but 54 of those 674 come from Pennsylvania, where they will not be bound by the results of the popular vote.
The Republican National Convention begins on July 18.