You can become a delegate to the Republican National Committee and, even, the RNC Chairman. And a delegate to the Republican Party Presidential Nominating Convention.
Have you ever been told this in any of the mailings you receive from the Republican National Committee? The National Republican Congressional Committee? The National Republican Senatorial Committee? Have these mailings (or those from your state Party) ever invited you to become a voting member of the Party?
Well, go to the RNC’s website, https://www.gop.com, and see if you can find the directions. They’re there, sort of. If you want to wade through the Rules of the Republican Party. Here’s the link to the page at the GOP.com site where the Rules appear: https://www.gop.com/index.php/rnc_counsel/. But there’s no summary of “how it all works.” Almost as if they really don’t want you to get involved. And there’s certainly no information about the fact that over half of the basic building block positions of the Party, the precinct committeeman offices, the office that has rightly been called “the most powerful political office in the world,” are unfilled. But I don’t blame the members of the RNC. The “powers that be” are just protecting their political turf.
A summary of what you might want to do follows. You can easily get involved and “learn the ropes.” Just takes a little time and a little reading and some good, old-fashioned “stick to it-iveness.”
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the Rules of the Republican Party, you’ll also need to familiarize yourself with your state’s Republican Party rules/bylaws. You’re on your own there. And you will need to read your county and local Republican Party committee rules. Again, you’ll have to find those. (You can find some of them at the links in my signature block below.) Believe it or not, the Republican Party has not compiled online digital copies of the rules of the state Party committees.
So, let’s start with the Rules of the Republican Party.
Per Rule 1 (a), the members of the RNC “shall consist of one (1) national committeeman and one (1) national committeewoman from, and the chairman of the state Republican Party of, each state.” So, if you want to cast a vote to replace the current RNC Chairman,Reince Priebus, you’ll have to become a member of the RNC.
Per Rule 5 (a) (1), the chairman and co-chairman of the RNC shall be of the opposite sex: “A chairman and a co-chairman of the opposite sex . . . shall be elected by the members of the Republican National Committee.”
How does one become a member of the RNC? Well, as already explained, you have to either be the chair of a state Republican Party or one of the national committeemen or committeewomen. You also must look at Rule 2, which basically says each state Republican Party can set its own rules for electing the national committeeman and committeewoman and if they don’t have such rules, other rules kick in. And, as already explained, the state Republican Party chairman of each state automatically serves as a member of the RNC.
I live in Arizona. We have a somewhat conservative Arizona Republican Party and our bylaws are online. Many state committees do not publish their bylaws (sometimes called rules or constitution) online. For example, I’ve tried to find the rules/bylaws of the New York Republican Party online. Fail.
The bylaws of the Arizona Republican Party explain that if one wants to get elected chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, or as the national committeeman or committeewoman, one first has to be an elected precinct committeeman and then get elected to the office of state committeeman.
If one manages to be elected the chairman of a Republican county committee or legislative district committee, then one automatically becomes a state committee member. Otherwise, each legislative district committee is allotted one state committeeman position for every three elected precinct committeemen.
So, I’ve managed to get elected to serve as a state committeeman. Thus, I was able to cast a vote at our annual state meeting for our new state chairman. (But, before getting elected as a state committeeman, one has to get elected as a precinct committeeman in the primary election in the even-numbered state-wide elections.) As a state committeeman, I’ll also be able to attend in January, 2012, the next annual meeting of the state committee.
In Arizona, to become eligible to become an elected precinct committeeman, one must collect a few signatures on a nomination form from registered Republican or independent voters in one’s precinct. No more than ten. And fill out one more form that states you live in your precinct. If you miss the deadline, you can run as a write-in candidate by submitting one piece of paper to the county elections department. And if the number of committeeman candidates is equal to or less than the number of allotted slots for the precinct (one per precinct and one more for every 125 registered Republicans residing in the precinct or major fraction thereof), the county elections department has the statutory authority to “deem elected,” after the date for submitting the form to run as a write-in candidate has come and gone, all of the candidates who submitted ballot applications. One’s local Party legislative district committee will help new candidates by supplying the forms, instructions on how to fill them out, and turning the completed forms in to the county elections department. None of this is hard to do. In Arizona, there are no dues. Any registered Republican has the right to run for the office of committeeman. And, in Arizona, as is the case, on average, in all of the states right now, about half of these “voting member” positions at the precinct level are unfilled.
Elections of the national committeeman and woman take place when the Arizona Republican Party holds its state convention, which takes place when the national committee issues the call for a national convention. Then the Arizona state chairman issues a “call” for a state convention to be published as provided by the rules adopted by the national committee and the Arizona state bylaws. Precinct committeemen, and only precinct committeemen, elect the delegates to the convention, and only precinct committeemen are eligible to be elected as delegates. Those delegates, at the convention, elect the national committeeman and committeewoman.
Here’s something you may find interesting. One does not have to be a member of the RNC to be elected the RNC chair or co-chair. Yup, Rule 5 (a) (1) also states, “The chairman or co-chairman need not be a member of the Republican National Committee.” In other words, anyone can be elected RNC chairman or co-chairman. I guess I like that flexibility. RNC Chairman Cold Warrior. I like the sound of that.
So, the real question becomes this: have you ever complained about the leadership of “the Republican Party?” Well, now you know how to change it. So the next question is, if you have complained: what are you going to do about it?
Will YOU help make 2011 “The Year of the Precinct Committeeman?”