Bruce Ash - Arizona Republican National Committeeman
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Many thanks to those who have emailed or called since August 24 th regarding two rules amendments that were approved by the Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Organization and ratified by a majority voice vote of the Republican delegates on the floor of the Convention last Tuesday afternoon.
As a bit of background……. Over 2 1/2 years I was honored to be elected and serve as chairman of the RNC Standing Committee On Rules. This committee met nine times from January 2010 through August 2012. During this period there were numerous amendments proposed that strengthen the interpretation of our party rules as well as give greater empowerment to our Republican activists. The committee submitted it's final report to the RNC membership for adoption and those amendments were then submitted pursuant to our party rules to The Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Organization on August 23 rd.
The Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Organization passed several amendments which give added strength to our activists. Following are a summary of several examples of major rules reform implemented by the RNC :
Rule 4( c ) -- Which defines replacement of officers of the RNC in the event of a vacancy.
Rule 10 -- Which authorizes a Commission on Convention Planning to study how to better plan and organize future quadrennial conventions of the national party organization.This commission will submit it's report in 2014.
Rule 10(a)(1) -- Which provides for pre submission of rule amendments that would give RNC Standing Committee on Rules members proper time to study proposed amendments prior to meeting.
Rule 10 (b)(5) --Which creates an RNC Standing Committee On Arrangements to plan the next quadrennial convention in 2016.
Rule 11--Which adds language making it necessary to get approval of all RNC elected officials of a state before making any in kind or monetary support for any public or party office.
Rule 15( c )(7) --Which imposes greater responsibility upon state parties to allow all active military, including wounded personnel, unable to attend or participate in person for primary elections and state party caucuses.
Rule 17(a) --Which allows Arizona to hold it's presidential preference primary the last tuesday in February without additional penalty.
These are all excellent additions to our party rules.
There have been concerns amongst our activists created over changes on new rule 12 and rule 16. Please find some background on these two rules for your consideration:
First, Rule 12 allows our elected RNC members to amend the Rules of the Republican Party for up to two years after the convention ends. Any rule changes during this time frame will require three-fourths of the members - not a quorum - to vote for the rule change.
The RNC previously had a temporary rule which required a two-thirds vote of members which passed at the 2008 convention and applied until this convention . A ¾’s vote of the 168 member RNC is a nearly an impossible threshold to meet . So Rule 12 makes it much tougher to pass a rule change between conventions .This is good.
Rule 12 could be critical to the future health of the Republican Party. As we saw last month with Rule 16, the hand of a campaign can weigh heavily on our party at the convention. The views of a campaign and those of a political party are sometimes divergent from one another. The needs of the campaign are urgent and important ; but their horizon is usually just a couple of months . The party’s needs are more long term. It is important that when necessary we be able to revise our rules when an environment exists where the needs of the party become paramount. We believe Rule 12 accomplishes that requirement.
There was no intent to disenfranchise the grassroots of our Republican Party with the addition of Rule 12 . Instead Rule 12 gives the elected members of the RNC Standing Committee On Rules flexibility to act in the long term interests of our political party on behalf of our grassroots provided there is a 3/4 vote of the RNC members.
Rules 16a(1) and (2) as finally amended and passed REINFORCES our rights at the state level to freely choose our delegates to a National Convention.The original version of this amendment was an over reach and most members immediately recognized it as such and went to work to correct. The final form of this rule change strengthens the ability of conservatives to maintain their current influence over our party and it's platform.
Rule 16a(1) requires Arizona to do what our state statute requires. Delegates will continue to use their best efforts to vote for the winner of our Presidential Preference Primary on the first ballot under Arizona Revised Statutes.
This rule amendment now makes it explicit instead of confusing as it was prior to this rule change. This always has been the intention of the Rules and 16a(1) fixed this problem. This Rule excludes those states where the Delegates and Alternates appear on a ballot and are elected directly by the primary voters.
Finally, Rule16a(2), which has caused so much controversy. The final version of this Rule was approved overwhelmingly on Tuesday by the Convention Rules Committee by a vote of 78 to 14 with our Arizona delegation members to the committee voting with the majority. Both the pro and the con sides were given equal time to speak on the amendment. After the vote was taken in the committee opponents of the rule change were unable to muster sufficient support to file a minority report to the convention. As passed, the Rule requires AZGOP to follow State law and its By Laws and vote for the winner of the Primary. If a Delegate refuses to follow the rules, then they can be replaced with an Alternate and the correct vote cast.
We as Republicans believe in following rules that are set forth for our Party. What has occurred in a number of States during this primary season including Arizona can be detrimental to our future ability to elect our Republican nominee . After winning the Arizona Presidential Preference Primary Mitt Romney was entitled to 29 votes from Arizona but only received 26 at the convention. The Convention Tally Committee decided to allow votes to be cast for several different individuals that should have been cast for Mitt Romney because of the confusion that existed in the Rules of this convention. Rule 16a(1) and (2) should remedy this problem.
Finally, a clarification of the voice vote that took place on the floor of the convention August 28 th to approve the Rules. There are a few who believe that the vote was close and there should have been division called and recognized. I would point out the convention is not run under Robert's Rules. Instead the proceedings are conducted using the rules of The US House of Representatives which gives the Convention Chairman broad latitude to conduct the business of the convention.
Additionally, based on a canvas done earlier by state delegations, there was a substantial majority of Delegates who supported passage of the Rules, including Arizona. The voice vote on the floor, unfortunately, included Alternates and Guests in the convention hall voicing an illegal vote. Even then it was clear that the ayes were more than sufficient to carry the report of the committee.
Thank you for your consideration and trust in our process. Both The RNC Standing Committee on Rules and The Convention Committee on Rules and Organization did a remarkable job and the final product reflects the efforts of the committee chairman and all members to thoughtfully consider reform to our party rules and create opportunities for all of our activists to participate in electing Republican candidates .
Now is the time for all Republicans who believe in restoring American excellence to come together and support our GOP ticket for The White House. By the very nature of contested primaries and conventions politics is often a bruising experience. This is nothing new. Every time Republicans become united we win elections.The stakes in this election are enormous. I hope you will agree with me that between now and November 6th we will all work on the same side fighting just like our founding fathers did when they faced an oppressive foe.
Bruce Ash - Arizona Republican National Committeeman