The Prince William County Republican Committee has issued their call for a convention with a filing deadline of February 23rd, and an overview of the call and convention dates are in an article at PWC News Network. Don’t wait to submit your delegate form, get it in now.
Some folks might have a few more questions about the convention process, and I’ll cover those below the fold.
What’s this about a “Mass Meeting?” Magisterial Districts (Gainesville, Brentsville, Coles, Neabsco, Woodbridge, Occoquan and Potomac) in Prince William County only has so many “delegate votes” allocated to them, and since there’s a lower limit on the fraction of a vote an individual delegate can have. In the highly unlikely case there’s overwhelming and unprecedented interest in the convention, this mass meeting would be held to selected delegates and alternates from each district. As far as anyone can seem to remember there hasn’t been a need for one of these, so it’s pretty safe to say one of these won’t be required.
I’m not a party guy. Can I still go? Sure, as long as your name isn’t going to arouse any suspicion in other’s minds that you’re a liberal plant who is showing up just to cause problems. A “credentials committee” will be looking at the voter history on registered delegates and if they find you’ve participating in Democratic Party primaries, that’s going to be an issue. If you are known for your public opinions and those aren’t consistent with Republican principles, that’s going to be an issue, too. Otherwise, this is a great opportunity to learn about how the political process works, meet some great folks, and it is definitely open to newcomers.
What’s this voluntary fee? Do I have to pay it? The fees (20 for the county convention, and $35 for the state convention) are to help pay for renting the venue and other convention costs. If you can chip in and help offset these costs, that’s a good thing. If you can’t, it won’t be held against you.
I don’t live in the County. Can I still go? Sure, but not as a credentialed delegate. The locality in which you live will have a convention as well, and that’s a better place to go.
How long is this going to take? Plan on this taking up your whole morning. Because there isn’t a whole lot of business to conduct, as long as there aren’t a ton of resolutions to be considered it should be wrapped up by noon. The state convention could be an all-day affair though.
I just want to be a delegate to the state convention. Do I have to attend this? You don’t have to show up to the county convention in order to be selected as a delegate to the state convention, but you do need to file as a delegate for the state convention and it’s on the same form. If anyone challenges your filing and you’re not there to speak up at the county convention, you could end up not getting elected as a delegate. You aren’t required to register as a delegate to both the county and state conventions, but it makes little sense to sign up as a delegate for one and not the other.
Why bother with this at all? It is not uncommon for these conventions to yield awfully narrow victories. Not too long ago Bob Marshall lost the nomination for US Senate to Jim Gilmore and two delegates could have swung that decision the other way. With seven candidates currently running for Lieutenant Governor the state convention will be quite unpredictable. Your voice could make all the difference.
Aren’t these boring? That depends on you more than the event, and the more you focus on what’s going on, the more interesting it will become. The Ron Paul contingent has been making a very strong showing at conventions lately and it can be fascinating to see them try to exert influence, while their general unfamiliarity with the process can lead to some amusing behavior from them as they struggle to understand what is going on and react to it. Sometimes the parliamentary battles can be very amusing. There are opportunities to talk one-on-one with elected officials, party veterans, and activists, and if you like a good speech, there should be at least a few of those. You really might find this informative and enjoyable.
How will I know what’s going on? The easiest way to do that is find someone who knows what’s going on and ask questions. There’s a never a shortage of political veterans who are willing to share some insight at a political convention.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
Leave a Reply