Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland of North Dakota sent a letter on Friday to fellow RNC officials arguing that current party rules allow 2016 Republican National Convention delegates to vote for the presidential candidate of their personal preference during the first round of voting, rather than voting along with the will of voters in their states.
Haughland wrote in a letter published by The Daily Caller that the party’s Rule 38, also called “Unit Rule,” specifically allows Republican convention delegates to vote their conscience in every vote at the convention.
“Every delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention is a completely free agent, free to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the convention in Cleveland in July. Every delegate is a Superdelegate!” claimed Haughland, who also pointed out that he has “been defending the right of the delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote according to their personal choice in all matters to come before the Republican National Convention, including the vote to nominate the Republican Candidate for President, for several years.”
Haughland, who is a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, claims that convention delegates were only bound to vote along with primary results at the 1976 convention and that the requirement was repealed in 1980.
He said that Tom Josefiak of the RNC’s Counsel’s Office gave a 2006 presentation to the Standing Rules Committee in which he counseled, “One of the important rules changes over the last 50 years has been the unit rule prohibited… that change was made so that an individual delegate can vote his or her conscience.”
Haughland, who told The Daily Caller that he believes Trump will not obtain enough delegates to win the nomination, said, “The nominee of the party must receive a majority of the votes of the permanently feted delegates of the convention. That means it doesn’t make any difference what has happened in terms of primary voters, because they don’t count at the convention. It’s only the delegates at the convention whose votes matter.”
News of Haughland’s effort to convince the RNC of his interpretation of convention rules comes on the heels of a Truth in Media report that the GOP establishment is working to force a brokered convention by attempting to deny frontrunner Donald Trump the delegates necessary to clinch the nomination during the first round of voting at the convention in hopes that another candidate will prevail in a subsequent round.