Category Archives: Skip Brion

PA Primary Results: Hillary Wins Big, GOP Delegate Picture a Mess

First thoughts:  Well, Hillary won by 10.  I guess that means this superdelegate tracking is going to have to continue for a while.

Regarding the GOP delegate races, those results are a little spread out over the interwebs, so will require some time to aggregate.  My favored candidate for my district– Jim McHale– did not win, but he did OK.  Interestingly, in my district well-known insider Ken Davis, about whom many are less than enthused, was included on the GOP sample ballot as an endorsed delegate at the last second absent any appropriate vote, at least as far as this committeeman is aware.

While Mr. Davis did not win, he did siphon off 1300 votes which affected the ultimate results.  There could be an explanation for this, but the most thorough one I’ve heard thus far is there was a “mix-up”, so an endorsement fell upon him by fiat, like manna from heaven.  This will require more investigation.  A very polite e-mail to the chairman of the Chester County GOP has thus far gone unanswered.

As for the rest of the Commonwealth, I believe there are at least some unendorsed delegates who have been elected, and not all of them are Paul-bearers.  As Mr. Drudge says, developing…


GOP Committeeman to “petition the government for a redress of greivances.”

When calling up delegation candidates in Pennsylvania I was surprised how many did not reject the notion of a protest vote out of hand.  Many well known delegate candidates, including Fred Anton, David Dumayer, and Vito Canuso, were at least willing to entertain a protest abstention.  For those outside of PA, they are, respectively: A leading GOP activist and fundraiser, a township supervisor, and the chairman of the Philadelphia GOP.

Some well known folks who are not running to be members of the delegation, like representative Curt Schroeder, also happen to consider such a course of action within the pale, so to speak.

I was advised to put off acquiring and publishing information about those running to be delegates from Pennsylvania to the GOP National Convention until I could assist, instead, in the organized process run by the state GOP.  Turns out nobody knows of such an effort.

Therefore it seems to me I have no choice but to start freelancing again.  I will, of course, check with my local party leaders first.  But every voter with whom I’ve spoken thinks reform is necessary.  The system as currently crafted demands that voters know how delegation candidates plan to dispose themselves at the convention, and nobody seems to care all that much about providing voters this information.  Many delegation candidates I’ve contacted agree reform is necessary, and would consider a protest abstention.

I am left to conclude, then, this project is necessary.  Necessary to make this asinine system work as designed, necessary to promote reform, and necessary because nobody else cares to do it.  Furthermore, there is nothing divisive about it.  Any protest that results will be against our ridiculous primary system, not the presumptive GOP nominee for president.

PA Democratic Superdelegate Status Update Above

Thanks to the ever indispensable Josh at The Morning Call a full list of Pennsylvania’s democratic super-delegates can be found at a page accessed with a link above.  Or here, if you’re lazy.

Also to appear there will be the names of all people running to be uncommitted delegates in the Pennsylvania GOP delegation. Remember, they are not legally bound in any way to vote for anyone in particular, and they have to be elected in the April primary.  The deadline to hand in signatures to appear on the ballot was today.  No biggie if you missed it.  You can always run a write-in campaign if you want, which with a little effort you could conceivably win.  I may go ahead and do that myself if my nominated delegate– Skip Brion– categorically refuses to consider a protest vote.

That presidential primary vote which will also appear on the ballot in April is just a meaningless distraction, remember.

In addition to the names of the people running, I will also post contact information if I can find it.  After all, the average voter is allegedly supposed to know who these delegates support.  So I might as well help y’all find out!

Correction + Wondering About Protest Vote’s “Irrelevancy”

Swapped some e-mails with Skip Brion, Chester County’s GOP chair.  He corrected me, in that Chester County has only one delegate going to the GOP convention, not two.  We voted on a delegate and alternate, and Rep. Gerlach is the delegate.

Skip also mused that perhaps a protest vote would be irrelevant unless the convention was brokered, which looks increasingly unlikely.  I don’t mean to imply he has a position on the matter.  If he does, he hasn’t shared it with me.  He probably wouldn’t, either, since I publish all this on the web!

Anyhow, it seems to be his suggestion isn’t quite right.  After all, if the convention is indeed brokered, a protest vote would be more powerful as it would have bearing on who became the nominee.  If there is a clear nominee, though, it would be nothing more than a clear protest at the absurdity of the primary process.  Nothing more.  It couldn’t be misinterpreted.

Maine Caucus is Irrelevent & Absurd; Not As Bad As PA

Did you know Maine had a caucus this weekend, and Romney won?  But nobody cares.  Know why?  First, because all it means is that the GOP caucus-goers in Maine have made a recommendation to the party insiders who will meet at a nominating convention in a month or so.  It is binding in no way, much like a Pennsylvania voter’s opinion means nothing.

So, rightly, nobody particularly cares.

Pennsylvania, shockingly, is even more anti-democratic.  Two weeks ago my county GOP committee met to determine endorsements for the upcoming primaries.  At that meeting we endorsed delegates to the convention as an afterthought.  Perhaps the people steering the meeting wanted it that way.  Perhaps it’s always that way.  I don’t know.  These delegates never expressed any position at all– at least that I was aware of– prior to being endorsed.

This is important:  I am a voting member of the party who attended the county endorsement convention, and I do not know who the nominated delegates preferred.  The argument for why this system theoretically makes sense is that a regular voter is supposed to know what candidate a delegate prefers.

Of course, those delegates are not legally bound by anything anyway.

Now, in a week the state GOP will have a similar meeting, wherein they will nominate candidates at the state level for things like Treasurer and Attorney General.  This is also where a presidential endorsement could, theoretically, be forthcoming.  This is supposed to inform the delegate’s decision at the party convention, you see.

This year, at least, that question may or may not be taken up.  It appears if Tsunami Tuesday delivers results indicating the primary process will linger on, they definitely will not take up the question.  Perhaps, though, if Mac hazes Romney like a first-year midshipman they will just endorse McCain.

So the Pennsylvania GOP’s endorsement has more to do with the opinion of people in other statesthan it does with the opinions of a Pennsylvania county committeeman, let alone a regular Keystone State GOP voter.  It is this party endorsement that, arguably, most informs the decisions of a delegate at the GOP’s national convention.

So, it appears the Pennsylvania GOP has voluntarily abrogated its right to allow Pennsylvania’s voters to have any say at all in who the national party nominates to be president.  Because of the late date, the fact that the delegates are not legally bound to the preferences of the voters, and because the state committee itself seems to mostly base it’s recommendation on the primary results of states that do have primaries that matter.

There must be a reason for this.  But trying to figure out why actual smokers never saw any money out of the class-action tobacco settlement confused me less than this.

Dueling PA GOP Endorsements

State GOP chair Bob Gleason has endorsed McCain.  Fightin’ Rick Santorum is now a Romney man. [HT Pennsyltucky & The Corner, respectively]

Rick has been hurling invective at McCain for months now like a monkey flinging poo, so this is no surprise.  Gleason is a party man, and front-runner, so his endorsement is to be expected as well.  Besides, our state GOP leaders have always been McCain men, I think.

One wonders how attracted the GOP establishment will be to my uncommitted idea, eh?

I mean, Santorum was an advocate for an uncommitted delegation, but appears to have succumbed to his personal loathing of Mac.  Gleason’s counterpart for for County GOP– Skip Brion– has not yet responded to my e-mail.  The new political director for County HQ has not responded to my entreaty for advice, either.

Perhaps they’re just busy.  I would remind all of them, though, that this is an issue on which all voters would agree reform is necessary.  I would also remind them that– as shocking as it sounds– most voters care as much about internal political party priorities as they do about the status of the solution to the Poincaré Theorem, or about personal and rancorous spats in consciousness studies.

In short, at a state level, or in our case Commonwealth level, this issue could generate votes for someone who chose to spend a few minutes talking about it.  And the only risk is with the party itself.  Last I checked the party was supposed to represent GOP voters, not the other way ’round.

UPDATE: Skip Brion, the head of my county GOP committee, was indeed just busy.  With committee stuff.  Not even his day job.  One wonders where he finds the time!  Anyhow, we are communicating, and he seems in general agreement that the lack of influence PA GOP voters have on determining the presidential nominee is less than ideal.

Change The System From In The System

I know more about how the GOP works.  Know what, though?  I am a committeeman, and it’s all still pretty vague to me.  Here’s an e-mail I just sent to the head of the Chester County GOP to get a handle on how best to send real uncommitted delegates to the national GOP convention.  It distills down my understanding of the system as it stands right now.  As I learn more, so will you!  Funny how the process of how we elect the president of a free nation needs distilling.

I seem to recall we nominated you as a delegate last week.  Who did we nominate along with you?
The reason for my question is I am really unhappy with the way the presidential primary system in our country works.  I tried talking to my state legislators about moving ours up so our votes could be meaningful, but that was like beating my head against a wall. [see post tags for list of who I tried to persuade on the matter]
Besides, I eventually came to the conclusion that simply moving ours forward is not so much a solution, as it makes a dysfunctional system worse.  It occurred to me, though, one way to at least draw attention to the issue would be to have Pennsylvania’s delegation to the GOP convention not only arrive uncommitted in theory, but in actual practice as well.
This is an idea already floated by former Senator Santorum, and I feel it is something on which we should follow up, even if there’s no real chance any more of our national convention being “brokered”.
What are your thoughts on this?
PA GOP delegates, you see, are technically sent as uncommitted.  The helpful op-ed from Rick Santorum I mention can be found here.  This is apparently not how it goes down in practice, though, and I need to learn more about how and why.  Skip, though, seems like a decent and rational fellow, and he is one of the two people the Chester County GOP has nominated to be delegates at the national convention.  I’m sure he can explain it to me, and could perhaps also be persuaded to join the cause.