Electing the President in Nebraska

My son's birthday card for his mom this weekend...
My son’s birthday card for his mom this weekend…

GOP County Conventions started across the state over the weekend, and will continue to April 10th. At those conventions, county party boards will elect delegates to the state convention. Who will in turn elect delegates to the National Convention in Cleveland.

Who will in turn nominate Paul Ryan to be President.

Wait, what!???

Ok, ok, that is just the latest Twitter CW. But stranger things could happen. As they say about electing the Pope, “He who enters conclave a Pope, comes out a Cardinal.”

So are we to understand that these lowly party stalwarts going to their county conventions are going to decide who goes up against Hillary?



The Basics

OWH’s Robynn Tysver did a nice job of giving the basics in her article this morning: County conventions elect delegates to the state convention. Nebraska sends 36 delegates broken down as:

  • 9 delegates, broken down as 3 from each Congressional District, voted on by delegates from the district.
  • 3 automatic delegates, Committeeman, Committeewoman, State Chair
  • 24 at-large delegates voted on by all 400 delegates at the state convention.

The delegates per county are there based on a formula written in Aramaic using a grease pencil on a Wendy’s drive-thru window. But it is basically based on the % of votes each county gave to Mitt Romney in 2012 (but at least one per county).

And then what happens at the state convention?

Well, in past years, the party leaders (i.e. the Governor and his politicos) would put together a slate of the 24 at-large candidates they wanted to win as delegates. And for the most part, those peeps would get elected (you vote for 24 on your ballot). However, in 2012, there was a strong Ron Paul contingent, and they got a number from their slate elected as delegates as well.

But THIS year? One would think Governor Ricketts and his staff will have their own slate, who will, in theory, be loyal to the Governor.

But that begs the question, right?
Who will the Governor support?

All the delegates HAVE to vote for whomever wins the state primary — on the first two ballots in Cleveland. (And even THAT rule isn’t unchangeable.)

But, if Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz, in theory) doesn’t get to 1,237 delegates prior to Cleveland, on the third ballot all heck breaks loose. And EACH delegate at the GOP convention would be free to vote for whomever they want.

So, getting back to the Nebraska convention, state delegates are going to want to know who you, National Delegate candidate, would support on that third ballot. And further, who is your second choice, assuming your first choice doesn’t work out.

Are you a #NeverTrump? Are you a #NeverCruz (you know they’re out there)? Who else are you #Never?

This is such a strange situation, because it is one of the first times this has ever made a difference.


Who do you support?

Here is a weird little quirk for potential Nebraska delegates.

In order to be a candidate for national delegate, (after you’ve been elected at the county level) you have to file this paper:

Delegate sheet

Gives basic instructions.
But notice the end section:


Essentially, you’re declaring who you will support for President.

Now note that if you’re elected as a delegate, you have to support Nebraska’s winner on the first two ballots in Cleveland anyway. After that, you are still able to vote for whomever you want (as far as I can tell — but Lord help us if this ever gets contested). But a delegate candidate can STILL put who they want to be “committed” to, maybe to try to increase votes.

Does a Pete Ricketts — who wants to be a delegate — list…Ted Cruz as his guy? Does he list…Scott Walker?! How about the aforementioned Paul Ryan?

The guess here is that the Gov just says he’ll support the winner. But what about others running for the gig? It makes things just a tad more interesting.

An oh by the way, one would think the Ted Cruz peeps are trying to make sure they have a slate to put out to the delegate voters.

And, in theory the Trump people (if they’re that organized).

How about the #NeverTrump/Cruz peeps?
Do they bother with a palm-card to delegates to know who they want?

It will make for a VERY interesting scene at the convention.


Small Patatas

And just because I’m way way way way behind on this one, but it’s funny/interesting nonetheless…

I caught an old ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that I had been wanting to watch for some time: Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?

It is a short history of the USFL — the league that featured Herschel Walker, Mike Rozier, Jim Kelly, Steve Young and Doug Flutie all before they played in the NFL.

The gist of the documentary is that Donald Trump, the owner of the New York / New Jersey Generals, killed the USFL by trying to move the season from the spring to the fall.

That conclusion, presented at the very beginning, doesn’t necessarily hold up. The league would have had major problems anyway. But it is another look at The Donald.

The one that most Twitter followers would recognize today, is this one:

Charlie Steiner, ESPN host, and then New Jersey Generals radio play-by-play guy was talking about Trump as a USFL owner. He suggested that Trump became a USFL owner so that he could buy his way from the back page of the New York Post, to the Gossip Page (Page 6) and ultimately to the front page.

So Trump is presented with Steiner’s analysis, in a present-day interview for the documentary. Except the interview took place in 2009. And here was Trump’s response:

“Charlie Steiner was nobody. Charlie Steiner couldn’t get a job, and we put him on the USFL. I hope he said that in a friendly way, because if he didn’t I’d love to take him on just like I take everybody else on. So I hope he remains loyal, and if he doesn’t let me know and I’ll attack him.”

2009 Donald Trump is IDENTICAL to 2015/16 Donald Trump, yeah?

Steiner could be a candidate or office holder or political reporter, and Trump would give the same response.

Funny, yeah? You can catch the whole thing on ESPN from time to time, and any time on Netflix.


On Wisconsin!

Oh, and Wisconsin votes tomorrow, and many think this could be the real beginning of the open convention in Cleveland.

Follow along with @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter!


  1. Henry Robert says:

    Anyone here ever been to State and/or National Convention and/or been a National Delegate? What is the experience like?

    • TexasAnnie says:

      I have! Twice to the National Libertarian Convention as a delegate from Nebraska.
      And once (2008) to the National Libertarian Convention as a delegate from Texas.

      At the 2008 convention Bob Barr rode in on a bandwagon and took the nomination even though his beliefs do not mirror the Libertarian philosophy. It happened quickly, over one week-end
      (Libertarians select their nominee solely at the convention i.e. no primaries or caucuses) and without explanation from his supporters other than “Barr has name-recognition.” —> Yeah! I recognized that the name Bob Barr equals bigotry!!! Soon after the TEA Party arose and became more influential in a couple years than the Libertarian Party had in four decades…

      The 2008 “experience” was loud, raucous and disappointing. So I quit the party.

      In much the same way that there is a disjoint between the Republican platform/ ideology and what the Republicans actually do, I recognized that the Libertarian organization will also sell out to the highest bidder. And in much the same way Bob Barr took control, Trump will likely transform the Republicans.

      Yet, I believe I know a means for making our politicians more honest. Register Independent! If you can’t count on them, why should they be able to count on you?

    • Julie Schmit-Albin says:

      When I went to RNC Convention in 1996 as an Alternate and 2004 as a Delegate, the process leading up to getting elected at State Convention was quite rigorous. We started slating at the County Convention level with the help of two long-time conservative organizers who knew what they were doing. By the time we got to State there were a raft of pro-life slates flying around. Finally figured out we needed to make an official Nebraska Right to Life Pro-Life Slate because there are so many machinations going on at the State Convention. You are literally campaigning with letters prior to the event and flyers at State Convention and configuring new slates as people get voted out. I even had a couple pro-choice Republicans laugh and admit they had created their own pro-life slate to confuse delegates. Can’t blame people, the slots are coveted and every political animal who has the desire to, ought to experience a National political Convention at least once. I got involved largely because back then Randy Moody and Nebraska Pro-Choice Republicans were active and trying to eliminate pro-life language from Lancaster County and State Convention planks. Even though both Conventions I went to the nominee was cut and dried (Dole and Bush), it was still a great experience and you feel you are really part of the process. But it really starts at the County level and before that with filing a bunch of like-minded people to run for County Delegate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Was that before or after you entered a life of crime with the burglary and wiretapping charge? Please explain to everyone what went down between you and Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey, and how it’s his fault that you accepted stolen confidential patient information from Planned Parenthood, and the criminal charges that it brought about.

      • The Grundle King says:

        I only caught a bit of the 30 for 30, but the analysis that Trump wanted to be front-page news seemed spot-on. He’d been effectively shut out of NFL team ownership, so the USFL was the next best thing. And The Donald, being the egomaniac that he is, wasn’t content to let the fledgling USFL play second fiddle to big brother NFL, so rather than keep the USFL playing football in the spring, helped push their season into the fall…in direct competition with the NFL for viewership.

        How idiotic. Seriously…probably one of the dumbest moves ever from a business strategy standpoint. If you’re looking to start up your own chain of big-box stores to go into competition against Wal-Mart, are you seriously going to build your stores right next to Wal-Mart, whilst offering products that are only ALMOST as good?

        Just imagine…we could have had year-round football.

        The dude couldn’t even make the USFL really good…how in the hell is he going to make an entire country great?

        And that last question is a serious question. I actually want to know.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One of the reasons we warred on National Socialist, Communist and Fascist governments is because they ignored voters. Many had “parties” that offered a picked nominee making voting a sham.

    What US Dems do with super delegates and this GOP talk of appointing someone who no Republican voted for this year, is in the spotlight like never before. People see it. Ignore voters and they will roast the donkey and elephant alive.

    • TexasAnnie says:

      Yep! As a former Libertarian, I have realized the stranglehold the two major parties have had on the election process many years now. With them making up the rules as they go along, and with the collusion of the media, third parties have difficulty getting on the ballot and then getting publicity.
      And if they don’t get the publicity (money talking) they don’t get the votes.

      There is a remedy: REGISTER INDEPENDENT!

      • Anon says:

        But then you always get called for election day duty! I have a friend who is registered independent and has been called every election since!

  3. Wisconsin primary prediction: Trump 6 delegates, Cruz 36 delegates.

    And a Politico story says if he doesn’t score a first-ballot win, Trump is doomed. A huge number of delegates pledged to vote for him on the first ballot will desert him thereafter.

  4. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Anon 10:25 a.m. I never accepted “stolen confidential patient information” and that is not what was contained in the e-mails that I turned over to the AG, Governor, DHHS, Dept of Insurance AND the media. Should you ever care to reveal your name I would be happy to send you the accurate story. But I suspect you care nothing about the truth.

  5. Lil Mac says:

    TA, your Libertarian Party delegacy experience nearly mirrors what the RNC is trying to do today.

    Party Leadership appeals to moralists who prefer the safety of darkness. Their role is, after all, to uphold “party principles” while pulling strings behind the curtain. That attracts people less like braggarts are drawn to the pulpit than pedophiles are drawn to the confessional. It matters little whether they loath or embrace their desires, that desire is what draws them to be and stay there.

    We can ridicule a Joe Ricketts for his money actions but it is his money. And we can criticize candidates who publically battle for votes to gain power and thereafter if successful be accountable but it is their own image they risk. Not so with Party leaders who pull strings they don’t pay for, with power they didn’t earn, from the safety of darkness.

    When the spotlight is turned on to some of these party moralists, when heated many pop like rotten fruit. I presume that is why we have candidates battling each other, why elections are public and harsh, so as to to squeeze the fruit before we empower it. Indeed, the invisible unaccountable power that is Party leadership appears a safe harbor for some of the worst America has to offer.

    It is insidious. Romney and Ryan, for example, ran publically and lost to voters. Now as losers they see opportunity to be appointed a nominee by intraparty boss-work without having earned one vote in this year’s election. Screw voters. Power is easier to get without them.

    Geo Washington was right about parties but even he couldn’t stop them.

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