Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee Meeting

[UPDATE: Here's a rundown from CNN of the day that was at the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee meeting. There are some interesting tidbits there. FHQ will have a broader comment on the piece later on.]

As has been the case with other Temporary Delegate Selection Committee meetings, news from within the event (yesterday's meeting in Washington) took a bit of time to surface. Just as a refresher, the TDSC is the 15 member group that is charged with examining the rules under which the 2012 Republican presidential nomination will be governed. The group has met before, but very little has come out in terms of what they have been considering. Sure, there's been talk of regional primaries and perhaps even an instant runoff system, but the information that has come out of these handful of meetings has paled in comparison to the cornucopial plethora of news that has emerged from the two Democratic Change Commission meetings. Now granted, it always helps when there are people on the inside who are willing to share (Suzi LeVine and Frank Leone to a name a couple.) publicly.

But did anything groundbreaking come out of the meeting yesterday? It depends on what you mean by groundbreaking. Nothing was released that in any way fundamentally reshaped the way in which Republican presidential nominees are selected. But that won't come until the group settles in on a decision to do so (...if then). What we do have are a couple of inside accounts. The first comes from TDSC member and former Michigan Republican Party chair, Saul Anuzis. The meeting was a late-day affair, so his tweets of the events didn't start appearing until 5pm. Here are a few of Anuzis' observations (via Twitter):
1. RNC 2012 Rules underway Huckabee, Giuliani managers have testified. SOS from WA now testifying.

2. RNC 2012 hearing options on timing, rotational options, primary vs caucus systems.

3. RNC 2012 has strong contingency from NH, IA and SC:)

4. RNC 2012 update, this will be the last public hearing with lots of ideas coming forward. Detailed proposals coming at December mtg.

5. RT @dcseth: @sanuzis Any talk of closed primaries? // no...that is up to states.
Let's put the pieces together:

The group heard from Chip Saltsman (Huckabee's former campaign manager) and, I'd guess, Michael DuHaime (from the Giuliani campaign in 2008). I can verify the former (Anuzis and Saltsman shared a call and response on Twitter following the meeting.), but the latter is, as I said, a guess. DuHaime is a part of the Christ Christie gubernatorial transition team in New Jersey (not that that has anything to do with this). [Ah, here's confirmation that DuHaime spoke before the TDSC.]

Also speaking before the committee was Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed. FHQ has discussed Reed in the past. Earlier in the year, he was urging RNC chair, Michael Steele, to fill out the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee with other secretaries of state. [There are none.] For his part, Reed toed the company line: He pushed for the National Association of Secretaries of State's rotating regional primary plan. But he also added that voters would prefer a later start to the process and that "There is a growing call for a process that is logical, orderly and fair."

Anuzis' second tweet seems to have been borne out of some of Reed's comments or at least a discussion stemming from it. [We've heard about the rotating regional primaries before, so I asked him about the timing aspect in relation to what the Democrats are planning on. I'm still waiting to hear back.]

Are you surprised that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina had large contingents in attendance? No, I wasn't either. The last two points were more worthwhile anyway. Firstly, the next TDSC meeting will be in December when they will hear "detailed proposals." Again, the RNC isn't slated to vote on anything coming out of these meetings until next summer. Still, the GOP will have something on the table by the end of the year, the point at which the Democratic Change Commission will make their recommendations to the DNC.

Finally, we also see that the neither the TDSC nor RNC are on the offensive to enact closed primaries (see recent FHQ discussion here). I briefly thought about a mass Republican switch to caucuses when I saw the "primaries vs. caucus systems" comment above, since caucuses are, on the whole, closed to independents and Democrats (from the Republican perspective). But Anuzis shoots that idea and the idea of the RNC forcing states to close their primaries (They can't.) down.

Now, what did we learn from all this? There won't be anymore closed primaries than there already are unless the state governments make a change or state parties opt out in favor of a party-funded caucus. [Yeah, you knew that already.] We also learned that there is another Temporary Delegate Selection Committee meeting next month.

Recent Posts:
Ex Post Facto: Why Do New Jersey and Virginia Have Those Off-Off Year Elections Anyway?

GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee Meeting Today

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Nate said...

When this new "committee" was announced back in January I was skeptical they would make any significant changes. In my opinion, the RNC's historic obsession with avoiding "rules fights" will significantly hinder the committee from making independent judgments based upon rational objective criteria. The easiest thing for the committee to do is nothing, and I suspect that's exactly what we will see from them (although I hope I'm wrong).

Robert said...

I hope you are wrong too, Nate. The main way I see it working to make significant changes if there is an agreement behind the scenes to throw down a marker to the Dems. That will be difficult in making true change without squawking from IA, NH & SC.

Josh Putnam said...

The next month will be telling. Both groups looking at the 2012 rules will either be making recommendations (Democrats) or listening to proposals (Republicans). I have been bearish and bullish on presidential primary reform during 2009 -- more bullish lately, though that is perhaps waning -- but the more time that passes without some form of contact and discussion between the parties, the less likely coordination will be. Without working together the parties will end up with the status quo.

I'll have more on this in a separate post shortly. [I know. Promises, promises.]