Evaluating the 2016 Tennessee Republican Party convention delegates – Part 1: Hey, nobody voted for them!

Boss Haynes - photo: Getty Images

Boss Haynes photo: Getty Images

by Horatio Bunce

This is Part 1 in a series of posts evaluating the 2016 Tennessee Republican Party delegate slate approved by the TNGOPe. Much is being made of the Trump campaign “whining” about being cheated when it comes to delegates selected by the GOPe. Alleged GOP “outsider” Ted Cruz seems to be getting much of the benefit of the totally “insider” selected delegate states (see Colorado and Wyoming) where no vote of the people is taken. Cruz “the outsider” calls Trump a sore loser and says he should know the rules of the game better. Apparently “outsiders” are all “inside baseball” that way. I am willing to bet most loyal Republican voters that have held their noses voting for Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, etc. also aren’t aware of those rules. They think when they cast votes for committed delegates that the elections are fair, the delegates receiving the most votes win and go to the convention voting for the candidate they committed to. Yet again and again they find themselves taking another one for the team when the RNC feeds them their fourth or fifth choice of candidate as the nominee and your “conservative” committed delegates you thought you had deliver another unanimous convention floor vote for the next yellow dog.

So, let’s take a look at the 2016 Tennessee Republican party approved slate of delegates and compare that to the ballot you were given and the recorded votes. You probably read/heard some weak stories about the slate like this reported in a scorecard fashion like Trump 33, Cruz 16, Rubio 9 and probably thought, “that sounds about right based on the popular vote, right”? You have to actually look at the delegates approved by the state party to see what the result is. In this post I will address delegates and alternates on their approved slate that nobody voted for – because they were not on the ballot. Now, this is also part of those “rules” that the GOPe and Cruz make fun of Trump for not knowing and being a “sore loser”. I’m expecting you will be just as “sore” when you see what has been done to your votes.

You can find a sample ballot for the 2016 Republican presidential primary for Blount County here.

You can find the “unofficial” voting results here.

You can find the Tennessee Republican party approved slate of delegates going to the 2016 Republican National Convention here.

Keep in mind that not all delegate candidates appear on your ballot, since the congressional district portion of the ballot where you selected three delegates are only those residing in your district. There are nine congressional districts in the state. The at-large delegates are the same on every ballot as they can reside anywhere in the state. You selected up to 14 of them, presumably those declaring themselves committed to your candidate. Many of these congressional and at-large delegates are party insiders, incumbents or former office-holders.

If you take a look at the party-approved slate of delegates you will notice several names that did not appear on any ballot, i.e., nobody voted for them:

Scott Carey – Cruz Delegate – attorney, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson and general counsel to the state Republican party

Chris Devaney – Cruz Delegate – Former state party chair 2009-20015, resigned to become executive director of Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti just a few months after defeating Joe Carr for the position. Also supported Lamar Alexander against primary challenger Joe Carr.

Frank Colvett – Cruz Alternate – Memphis city councilman, Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee member and TNGOP Treasurer

Paula Sedgwick – Cruz Alternate – Bartlett, TN alderman, Haslam appointee, Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee member

Just look at all those Cruz “outsiders”!

Ryan Haynes – Rubio Delegate – Pigeon Forge liquor-by-the-drink lobbyist (while a Knox Co. representative), current state party chair.

Dave Black – Rubio Alternate – Founder and chairman of Aegis Sciences Corp. and husband of U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Bill Haslam – Rubio Delegate – Achieve Inc. board member, Common Core promoter, project manager for federal testing entity PARCC, Utah test question renter, and oh yeah, the governor.

Betty Cannon – Trump Delegate – TNGOP Vice Chairman

Ken Gross – Trump Delegate – Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee member and known anti-Trump facebook poster. Interesting he is now a forced-upon-you delegate for the man he called a “liberal Democrat”.

Peggy Lambert – Trump Delegate – Republican National Committee member for Tennessee, former Blount county commissioner

John Ryder – Trump Delegate – Republican National Committee member for Tennessee, RNC General Counsel, He was the chairman of the Redistricting Committee and the RNC Presidential Nominating Schedule Committee. He was a delegate for the 1984, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Republican National Conventions. Ryder served on the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee and currently serves on the Rules Committee.

Beverly Knight Hurley – Trump Alternate – Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee member from Davidson County

Gee, look at all that establishment support for not-a-Republican Trump! Who Knew?

There are now 14 delegates appointed by the state executive committee of the party. They pretty much appoint themselves, and a few slots are automatic: the party chair and the two national committee members (Haynes, Lambert and Ryder). These appointments are a relatively “new” thing implemented by the party in 2012. Why? To remove you pesky voters from the process. It is getting harder all the time to force the next Single Digit Jeb on you. So throw in an automatic 25% of the vote fixed in advance and voila, they can “elect” a yellow dog if necessary. In this case, the GOPe are now on Plan C with Cruz and likely do not truly support him either, but these fix-is-in delegates will vote as required for two rounds at the convention. More importantly, they will be a protectionist vote of the establishment when it comes to the required votes on potential rules and procedures changes. Their RNC “rules” expire every four years and have to be renewed before business at the convention. Don’t forget John Boehner and his teleprompter from Florida. It was getting messy. The GOPe needed to “fix” things so this didn’t happen again. However, a 40% populist vote for Trump wasn’t supposed to happen. The TNGOP fix-is-in construct did not account for that kind of opposition. So, even more rigging is necessary, which we’ll look at in Part 2.

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