The North Dakota Republican Party is holding a convention this weekend where it will hand out some delegates. There isn’t a formal caucus or primary in North Dakota, instead Republican leaders and party activists will pick 25 delegates to the Republican National Convention. In a year when even a small number of delegates might matter for the nomination, all the GOP candidates are giving North Dakota some attention today. However, the reality is that all of these 25 delegates are “unbound,” meaning they aren’t pledged to any one candidate and essentially will go to Cleveland in July as “free agents.”
Report from CNN:
There are no primaries and no caucuses: only party insiders.
A panel of 11 North Dakota Republican Party leaders — the Permanent Committee on Organization — will select 25 preferred delegates from a list of candidates submitted to them (the deadline for consideration was Monday.) They will look at a series of factors revolving around party loyalty, including history of work for the state party, political contributions, runs for office and whether this would be their first time attending a convention.
That list is then submitted to the full convention, made up of state delegates who were selected by local party leaders earlier this year. Those state delegates will have the final say on who becomes a national delegate.
Technically, there are no Trump, Cruz or Kasich delegates — they’re free agents.
Unlike other states with primaries or caucuses, these 25 delegates to the national convention are committed to whoever their heart desires.
They were not required to state which candidate they’ll be supporting when they submitted their application to be a delegate, noted North Dakota Republican Party Executive Director Roz Leighton, and they don’t have to declare their allegiance afterward if they don’t want to.
That said, the most likely delegates are party regulars — state lawmakers, veteran activists, and people with deeper connections in the Republican Party than just this cycle. That inherently weights it against Trump and the many outsiders and disillusioned Republicans who have flocked to him.
North Dakota is truly an example of where the “party” picks the delegates as opposed to the voters. Ordinarily North Dakota wouldn’t warrant an article since we really have no way of knowing who the delegates will support when they get to the convention. But, it’s not an ordinary year so even these small contests could be a make or break of a handful of delegates that could decide the nomination. Each of the campaigns will try and do their best to persuade the selected delegates to support them, but that’s most the candidates can do to try and win any of them over.
We won’t have any results for this, since there are none, but at least you’ll know what’s going on this weekend in North Dakota and their delegate selection process.