Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

This is part thirty-two of a series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation rules by state. The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2016 -- especially relative to 2012 -- in order to gauge the potential impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. For this cycle the RNC recalibrated its rules, cutting the proportionality window in half (March 1-14), but tightening its definition of proportionality as well. While those alterations will trigger subtle changes in reaction at the state level, other rules changes -- particularly the new binding requirement placed on state parties -- will be more noticeable. 


Election type: caucus
Date: March 15 
Number of delegates: 9 [6 at-large, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: winner-take-all
Threshold to qualify for delegates: n/a
2012: non-binding caucus

Changes since 2012
Unlike in the other nine delegate territories, the Republican Party in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has more clearly defined rules on the allocation and particularly the binding of its delegates to the Republican National Convention. Whereas the delegates in the American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands have unbound delegations, the Republicans in the Northern Marianas will allocate their nine delegates to the winner of the territorial caucuses on March 15.1

That is not only a departure from the other territories but from how the process operated in 2012 in CNMI when the delegation headed to Tampa unbound.

Delegate allocation (at-large and automatic delegates)
There will be two votes that participants in the caucuses in the Northern Marianas will cast. The first is for presidential preference and the second to elect the six at-large delegates from the islands. That first vote binds the delegates chosen in the second vote to the winner of the caucuses.

Delegates will be bound to the winner of the Northern Marianas caucuses through the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. After that, the delegates are releases. If the winner of the caucuses withdraws before the convention, then the delegates vote as a group on who to support as a nine member group on the first ballot. Should the first ballot is inconclusive, then the delegates are freed of their bond to the original winner or the replacement choice of the delegation and can support any candidate they prefer (as individuals).

State allocation rules are archived here.

1 Yes, the Virgin Islands would have had bound delegates had any delegates committed to candidate been elected. The rules there -- carried over from 2012 -- did not necessarily call for the binding of delegates. That is a function of an interpretation of the Virgin Islands rules by the RNC given the new rules on binding for 2016.

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