Are Republican Delegates "Bound" At All?


The Ron Paul campaign "delegate strategy" would work a lot better if delegates to the convention in Tampa were not bound to vote (either proportionally or in total) in line with the GOP voters of the state in primaries or caucuses. 

Local Cincinnati Fox-19 TV journalist Ben Swann has been talking a lot about RNC "Rule 38" which on the surface seems to not permit entire state delegates to be bound to the same candidate–though other Paul fans threw cold water on that by pointing out most states have a few wildcard delegates that get around that rule.

Swann now claims to have found ironclad proof in the 2008 opinion of an RNC lawyer that as far as they are concerned, every delegate to national can vote for whoever the heck they want. The video, relevant part at around 2:20:

For my Pre-Mcluhanites who would like to see this argument in words, from Mason Buran at Examiner.com:

The Republican National Convention Legal Counsel deals with rulings and controversies within a party. Utah follows the winner-take-all delegate awarding system, which means that the majority winner of the state attains all 40 delegates. In Utah, during the 2008 GOP Nomination process, a delegate refused to vote with the state's primary winner, John McCain. The Republican National Convention Legal Counsel commented with this statement

"Jennifer Sheehan, Legal Counsel for the RNC, plainly stated in a letter to Nancy Lord, Utah National Committeewoman, several weeks before the convention, 'The RNC does not recognize a state's binding of national delegates, but considers each delegate a free agent who can vote for whoever they choose.'"

In order to become a delegate, it involves a long and enduring process by attending after-caucus/primary meetings. Following those meetings, potential delegates are then required to attend district and state conventions where the delegates are then nominated to the convention. The process requires that the supporters have a lot of patience, while still maintaining enthusiasm for their ideal candidate. Ron Paul's supporters have been taking advantage of this process ever since Iowa. In many of the winner-take-all states, Ron Paul supporters have been nominated as delegates to the Republican National Convention but are still hypothetically bound to Mitt Romney. However, according to this ruling by the Republican National Convention Legal Counsel, they are not required to vote for Mitt Romney in any circumstance.

That letter notwithstanding, this language from the 2008 "Rules of the Republican Party" adopted in September 2008 does seem to allow for binding according to state Party rules or even state law. See page 18:

Delegates at large and their alternate delegates and delegates from Congressional districts and their alternate delegates to the national convention shall be elected, selected, allocated, or bound in the following manner:

(1) In accordance with any applicable Republican Party rules of a state, insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules; or

(2) To the extent not provided for in the applicable Republican Party rules of a state, in accordance with any applicable laws of a state, insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules; or

(3) By a combination of the methods set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this rule; or(4) To the extent not provided by state law or party rules, as set forth in paragraph (d) of this rule.

Thus, it seems, deciding whether any state's delegates are bound, by the language above or at least how I'm understanding it, requires looking at that state's laws or party regs, not just the language of a letter from an RNC legal counsel

For how Ron Paul got so far that this is even a live issue, consult my out-soon book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired and/or its dedicated blog.