Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Did Obama Campaign Forfeit New Hampshire Convention Delegates?

While the Media focus on the New Hampshire Primary has been on the actual number of votes each candidates will receive, the purpose of a primary is actually to permit the parties to choose Delegates to their respective national conventions. These delegates are the people who will spend several days in Charlotte, NC (starting September 3, 2012 for the Democrats) or Tampa, FL (starting August 27, 2012 for the Republicans) choosing their party’s standard-bearers, cheering and applauding televised speeches, politicking and partying in one of the grandest of political traditions. When voters cast their votes in the Primary, they are actually choosing Delegates who are supportive or ‘pledged’ to the candidate for whom they vote.

And while the attention has been on the Republican Party, the Democrats also will have a convention, presumably to nominate President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden for a second term. And that means that in each state, Democratic partisans must also cast votes, caucus, or otherwise choose their Convention delegates.

Except in New Hampshire, it appears that the Democratic Party may have forfeited their right to send delegates pledged to President Obama.

New Hampshire State law reads as follows:

RSA 655:50 Selection of Delegates: Each presidential candidate who has filed pursuant to RSA 655:47 shall file with the secretary of state no later than the third Friday following the last day of the filing period before the presidential primary the names and addresses in alphabetical order of the delegates and their alternates, one alternate per delegate, who shall represent him as his delegation to the national convention.

That would have been November 18, 2011 for this election cycle. Former Republican candidate Gary Johnson flew to New Hampshire in a panic on that day because his campaign had forgotten to file their delegate slate. But apparently the Gary Johnson campaign was not the only campaign to forget to file.

A check of the NH Secretary of State shows that Barack Obama’s campaign also forgot to file.

I expect this will not make much of a difference at Convention time. After the primary, NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner will announce that Barack Obama won the Democratic Primary (he only has token, frivolous opposition). The Credentials Committee of the National Democratic Party will find some way to seat delegates from New Hampshire anyway.

And the Republicans will make some political hay about the Democrats cavalier approach and sloppy attention paid towards New Hampshire – the only “swing state” in the American northeast.

Not really a bright move for the Democrats….


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