Saturday, February 10, 2007

GOP Convention Report

This weekend, I was a delegate to the State GOP Convention in Grand Rapids. At this convention, the party chose its state committee members, district committee members, state chair, and vice chair positions. There weren't a lot of surprises at the State GOP Convention. The 8th District caucuses were uneventful, which is a good thing.

The big battle was for youth chair between Matt Hall and Trevor Pittsley. Matt was heavily backed by some of McCain's major backers. Pittsley is backed by many of Romney's major backers. There's a proxy war going on between John McCain's people and Mitt Romney's people. (For the record, I'm a free agent) That aside, neither have officially endorsed any candidate, and there were several overlaps. After several counts/possible vote flips in one particular district, and a close fight with some controversey, Hall won by 8 votes. That's part of convention politics at times. I think either one of them would do a good job for the party and was a fencesitter till it was vote time. Matt Hall did an excellent job at WMU. Trevor Pittsley did an excellent job for state party and also worked with the Teenage Republicans at one of their events. Unfortunately, the battle ended in the manner it did with the controversey. That said, Matt's a good guy and should do a good job for us. Congratulations to him.

One of the major issues at the convention was Granholm's tax increase proposal. In response to that, former state rep Leon Drolet was passing out stickers for the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. The message on it was "RECALL 1983" in response to the Blanchard tax increases that lead to Democrat loss in the state senate after two recalled politicians who voted for it. The Concerned Taxpayers Group here was enacted in response to a 3 mill school tax proposal on the county level. It's high time to see a taxpayers group on the state level ready to do batter with Granholm. We are naysayers to her tax increase, and damn proud of it!

State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk and some others snuck though a border security resolution to the convention floor. I'm pleasantly surprised that this was able to reach the floor. This was pure grass roots success, much to the chagrin I'm sure of some Washington establishment types. Once it reached the floor, it passed easily - 3-1 at least.

On the 2008 front, I arrived at the convention as a free agent in my presidential choice. I leave also as a free agent. Four campaigns were represented there. Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney were there themselves. John McCain was represented by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Rudy Giuliani was represented by Candice Miller.
Brownback did a good job appealing to the social conservative base without any of the fire/brimstone type of rhetoric that turns off most of the mainstream. His goal of eliminating cancer in ten years is a laudible one. Mitt Romney is a very good speaker who talked about experience and fiscal principles. Candace Miller did a good job attempting to sell Rudy by emphasing his mayoral record. I'm no McCain fan at all, but Pawlenty did a very good job for him. I wish he was the candidate running instead.

I can't speak for other districts, but the 8th district had a rather cold reception to Mr McCain. Can he get the base back? Brownback had some support, but many have doubts about his ability to win. I think his chances increase greatly if people think he has a good chance to win. The crowd seemed to favor Romney, but was more a lean that way rather than hard core support. Overall - it's still way early and no one has run away with the nomination.

I arrived and still am an undecided free agent on the 08 race. I did not wear any presidential stickers there, just my Recall 1983 sticker.


Jeremy Nielson said...

I left the convention feelng something was amiss with the Hall/Pittsley numbers. I'm sure everything is on the up-and-up, but the 9th District should have brought a calculator... they couldn't quite seem to get their numbers right, and it sounded like more people kept going for Pittsley on their recounts.

Gov. Pawlenty was a good speaker, but I was disappointed to hear the same speech in the caucuses as the general assembly. I was also slightly sickened that McCain used so much Reagan footage. Reagan was a great President, and I don't think it's right for him to try and ride those conservative coattails. It was great to see the footage, but I don't think you use Reagan to bleach your true colors.

The next big event is Mackinac. Who's going? That might be a good time to organize some of the MI Bloggers. :)

Curley Sue said...

McCain is no Ronald Reagan!!!

Chetly Zarko said...


We met last year before your primary very briefly at a Macomb YR event at Chammps.

Regarding your idea about blogging, send me your contact.


brandonlmoore said...

I just wanted to set the record right on the Youth Chair Race. A lot of people think something fishy went on, and if you weren’t invoulded in the process I can see how you could think that.

After the first round of voting Matt Hall had a 70 vote lead. Trevor Pittsley asked for a recount of Distract 9 which is allowed in the rules. Though a recount is really a revote since there is no paper ballots.

A lot of people had left the convention after voting on the race because the convention (As well as hotel checkout) was suppost to be over at noon but by the time the recount happened it was 1:30pm. Trevor did this in hopes that more Hall supporters left the convention then Pittsley supporters. Which I guess one can not fault him to much for in that close of a race.

This was true in Distract 9 where I would say close to and maybe more than half of the distract left the convention. So after the revote or “recount” Trevor picked up 62 votes. Causing Hall to win by 8 votes instead of 70.

Its important to note that 62 votes do not equal 62 people at conventions. Each district is allowed to vote X number of votes and will always cast that many votes in a proportional way. (Example if a distract has a 100 votes but only 20 delegates are there then each delegate’s vote is worth 5 votes.) So a swing of 62 people could really be only like 9 fewer people who left from the first vote to the 2nd.

We need to change how conventions are ran when it comes to voting. Four major things needs to happen. One no Distract should be able to vote before the nominees are nominated. Two the votes should be cast on paper ballots. Third, any recount should be recounted using the paper ballots. Candidates should not be punished because the convention runs 2 hours later then it was supposed to, or because there supports had to check out of the hotel. And Finally all delegates should have to show ID to get there delegate credentials. I heard several reports of people not having there credentials at the table because someone already took them.

Sorry for the long post but I think the Youth Chair race needed to be explained and these ideas need to be thrown out there and I’m going to try to find out how to get these ideas into the Convention rules in the future, so our leaders or chosen in a better more fair and less confusing way.

Jeremy Nielson said...


Don't apologize for a long post :)

I was on the Rules Committee, and I usually get nominated from the 12th for Rules Committee. I may also be getting a spot on State Committee, but I'm not holding my breath there. Either way, I think your changes make sense, and I'd be glad to take a look at getting them implemented.

Showing ID for credentials is up to the individual district caucuses, I think. Even if the rules don't change, you can get your District Chairman to require ID for credentials, and anyone lacking ID or Credentials needs to work it out with the District Chair + State Party.

brandonlmoore said...

Thanks for agreeing that my ideas make sence. How do you get on the Rules Committee? I just was elected on the 6th District Committee last Friday myself. Dose the 6th District nominate one or two people for the Rules committee, or are they just our State Committee members? Also are there any at large spots on this committee?

I'm the Vice-Chairman of the WMUCR and this was my first convention, where I was actually inside the convention hall doing things. So I would look at things in a new way from people who have done this for years.

Thanks for your responce.

Jeremy Nielson said...

Two people from each district go to the Rules Committee on Friday night. I think I usually go, because everybody else wants to go to the free parties.

A lot of the rules covered are not able to be changed. Some of the rules, however, can be changed. I think there's a way for the rules to be changed through State Committee, but I need to explore that. Let's take this offline... you can email me at jeremy/AT/jeremynielson/DOT/org.