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Wednesday
Jun272012

Oregon Republicans choose delegates to Tampa Convention

Controversy surrounds sudden convention adjournment

Roseburg, OR-More than two hundred republican activists and elected precinct committee persons gathered early Saturday morning, June 23, at Umpqua Community College, to participate in the Fourth Congressional District Convention, their purpose, to elect national delegates to attend the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) nominating convention scheduled for August 27-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Republican PCPs gather at UCC to elect delegates to the Republican National Convention in TampaSimultaneous, four other Oregon congressional districts from across the state held similar meetings. At stake was the selection of 28 delegates who will attend the national convention. The number of delegates was apportioned in Oregon based upon the percentage of votes each candidate garnered in the republican primary election.

Front runner Mitt Romney received 21 of the Oregon delegate positions. Romney was designated by the RNC as the party’s “presumed nominee”, before several states had even held their primary election. The remaining ten positions were allocated as follows: Newt Gingrich 1; Ron Paul 3; and Rick Santorum 3.

The manner in which the national delegates are chosen in Oregon is for those who were registered as republicans, at least 180 days prior to Oregon’s May Primary, to complete a delegate application form indicating the name of the presidential candidate they support, and file the application with the Oregon Republican Party (ORP) before May 31, 2012. Those qualified delegate and alternate delegate applicants would then go on the ballot at the five congressional district conventions held June 23, 2012.

There were long lines outside the UCC student center early Saturday morning as elected precinct committee persons (PCP) were checked in and issued credentials for the day’s proceedings. In CD 4 there were 174 qualified PCP’s credentialed from the seven counties represented at the CD4 convention.

Several candidate slates were being circulated to the PCPs seeking votes for the 28 delegate and 28 alternate delegate positions at stake. A total of sixty-six republicans were running for the 10 “At Large” delegate positions. Each of the five districts would also elect three “District Delegates” for a total of 15. The remaining three super delegates are comprised of the two National Committee members (one man and one woman) plus the state GOP chair for a grand total in Oregon of 28 delegates.

The District Convention rules state that all five districts will vote simultaneously throughout the state on the first ballot which is to select the “At- Large” delegates. After the ballots were distributed and the votes cast the five districts then totaled the results and announced the winners. The “CD4 Unity Slate” won all ten delegate slots statewide consisting of; Gingrich 1 delegate, Paul 3 delegates, Romney 3 delegates, and Santorum 3 delegates.

In CD4 things went along smoothly until around four in the afternoon, when the suggested 5:00 pm closing of the convention appeared insufficient to conclude the remaining elections of “At Large” alternate delegates and “District” alternate delegates.

A motion was offered and seconded to extend the closing of the CD4 convention to such time as would be sufficient to conclude all the business of the convention on the agenda, in accordance with convention rules. The motion passed unanimously and the election process continued.

At 5:00 pm Fred Dayton, CD4 Vice Chair, announced to the PCPs who were in the process of preparing to vote on the two remaining ballots, that Oregon Republican Party Chairman, Allen Alley had called them and told them to stop the election of alternates and shut down the convention. A great deal of confusion and angry comments enveloped the room as PCPs demanded that their votes be allowed to be cast.

Dayton said it was out of their control and that Chairman Allen Alley gave the order, which Dayton told the audience he suspected came from Oregon’s representative on the RNC, Solomon Yue. Dayton also announced that the Oregon GOP official representing Alley, Terri Moffett, had already left the building and taken the ballots with her.

Several individuals then tracked Moffett down in the parking lot and videotaped her preparing to load the ballots into the trunk of her car.

Meanwhile back inside a great turmoil broke out and calls for Chairman Alley‘s removal from office ensued along with calls for stripping Yue of his Republican National Committeeman status.

After many furious cell phone calls and discussions between Bob Avery, CD4 Chair, Dayton and angry PCPs, Terri Moffett re-appeared with the missing ballots after receiving new instructions from Allen Alley by phone countermanding his earlier order to leave with the ballots. A video has been posted on YouTube showing Moffett’s attempt to leave with the ballots, and her return to the convention room.

The ballots were eventually distributed and the election continued according to the printed agenda. All of the “At-Large” alternate delegates were chosen and the “District” alternate election was then completed as well.

Meanwhile in District 5 the Chair of that convention, Jeff Kubler attempted to close the convention, but Vice Chair Marylin Shannon picked up the gavel and the remaining business was concluded in the parking lot outside. Shannon said “every one of the delegates were duly elected”.

Shannon said “One ray of hope announced at the CD5 meeting before all the chaos caused by the sudden adjournment was when Solomon Yue announced “My Super PAC has raised enough money to fully fund Art Robinson’s campaign (against Peter DeFazio) in CD4”. Robinson was elected in CD4 as a Mitt Romney delegate to the national convention.

Even though Chairman Alley attempted to shut down all five Congressional district conventions, four of the five finished their official business in accordance with party rules and the printed agenda. Only the first district, representing west Portland and northern west portion of Oregon adjourned without casting all of their ballots, and completing the convention business.

Solomon Yue went on the Bill Post radio program to explain the confusion of the abrupt decision to close the conventions, by saying it was the fourth district’s fault, because they were delaying the statewide tally of votes.

When asked about Yue’s charges that CD4 was to blame, Fred Dayton said “Terri Moffett had total control over the ballots and the counters” and that she never gave any indication that there was any delay in the process. Dayton said Solomon’s accusation that CD4 caused the delay was “predictable” but that at no time did [his official GOP representative] Terri Moffett, convey any such concern.

Fred Dayton has served as past CD4 District Chair for several terms and said he has been involved in putting on 7 of the past 9 district conventions. Dayton said “We have never, since 1976, adjourned a congressional district convention without the business of the convention being concluded.” He added “I was as shocked as anyone in that room.”

Shannon said in District 5, “all of the rules of the RNC and the ORP were followed and everyone was getting along fine until the chairman suddenly ordered all of the meetings adjourned.” Following this unprecedented move, PCPs could be heard shouting “We’re going to recall him [Alley]”.

Kevin Mannix, former candidate for Oregon governor and past Oregon GOP Chair, said “My sincere desire is that this distraction does not take away from the outstanding candidates running this year for Oregon house and senate seats and for Secretary of State and Labor Commissioner.” Mannix, who has run several state conventions said; “you can be tough about procedure, but you have to be fair.”

At the CD4 meeting, Romney’s Western State Coordinator, According to a GOP observer, well known Mitt Romney supporters filed to run for the Gingrich, Santorum and Paul delegate slots, just as they had accused Ron Paul supporters of doing, but the Romney slate lost.

Sarah Nelson was filmed passing out “The American First Slate” with the word Romney written in on the top. When Vice Chair Fred Dayton became aware of this he told the room he had never in all his years witnessed anything like that. Nelson was also heard telling several PCPs that the slate she was distributing was the “official ORP slate”. When confronted on this point, she admitted that was not what she should have said and agreed to recant her earlier representation.

The Romney operative was also in violation of Convention Rules by passing out her slate on the floor which is reserved for credentialed PCPs exclusively. She was removed from the floor.

Saturday, June 30, is the date the ORP set for the elected delegates to meet and elect the Oregon delegation officers and committee chairs. Greg Leo, Allen Alley’s Chief of Staff at the ORP headquarters, would not return calls to confirm the time and location of the meeting. Several elected delegates and alternates have said there is still no confirmation of the time and place of the meeting.

Several delegates have expressed concern that the state ORP Executive Committee will attempt to overturn the election results and use executive privilege to make their own appointments for the alternate delegate positions, which Shannon says the by-laws do not allow.