A group of Republican State Central Committee (SCC) members has taken advantage of quorum requirements and scheduled a meeting of the committee for February 20. The group called for the meeting with the intention to change the nomination method from a typical convention to a party canvass.
A canvass, also known as a firehouse primary, would be a party run process where each locality typically has one voting location for Republicans to vote.
Chairman Rich Anderson did not call for the meeting – but according to the party plan, if 1/3 of the committee members sign their name to a document calling for a meeting, then it can happen.
31 members of the committee signed off on the call for the meeting, which well surpasses the 1/3 threshold.
The group also sent a letter, signed by no one in particular, to their fellow committee members to explain their reasoning. “We believe it would be disastrous for the SCC to nominate our candidates and we remain firmly opposed to that outcome,” they wrote. “In order to end this impasse, we have made the first move and are willing to “meet in the middle” by supporting a Party Canvass.”
The author of the letter says that the members who signed originally supporters of a primary election to choose statewide nominees this year. “As evidenced by our previous votes, we believe a Primary would best position our nominees to prevail on November 2,” they wrote. “In the interests of resolving the current impasse, however, we are willing to vote for a Canvass as the method of nomination.”
As COVID-19 restrictions have made it nearly impossible for a typical convention to take place, Anderson has warned that the committee might be left with no choice but to choose the nominee themselves. “We are now on a trajectory that will preclude an assembled convention, an unassembled convention, and a primary,” Anderson wrote to committee members recently. “That will require that our three statewide nominees be selected by the SCC, which will take on the perception of party bosses huddled in a smoke-filled back room.”
Anderson has not responded to requests for comment. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.
“In the interest of unity and the spirit of compromise, we have agreed to support a Canvass,” wrote the committee members in the letter. “At Saturday’s meeting, we will move for a Canvass as the method of nomination. We hope you will join us in supporting that motion.”
While the group was able to successfully organize a meeting, it is unclear if they will have the votes needed to change the process from a typical convention. There have already been several attempts to change the plan in recent months and they all have failed, often sending each meeting into disarray.
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