Reality Check: Bound Delegates In The Republican Primary May Not Be Bound After All
Description: Bound delegates may not be bound. "Rule 11. (a) The Republican National Committee shall not, without the prior written and filed approval of all members of the Republican National Committee from the state involved, contribute money or in-kind aid to any candidate for any public or party office except the nominee of the Republican Party or a candidate who is unopposed in the Republican primary after the filing deadline for that office. In those states where state law establishes a nonpartisan primary in which Republican candidates could participate, but in which the general election may not include a Republican candidate, the candidate endorsed by a convention held under the authority of the state Republican Party shall be recognized by the Republican National Committee as the Republican nominee." "Rule 38. No delegate shall be bound by any attempt of any state or Congressional district to impose the unit rule.” The unit rule does not prohibit a state from using a winner-take-all primary in the same way that Rule 15(b) prohibits most states from using a winner-take-all primary when holding a contest earlier than April 1st. However, the unit rule does prohibit binding delegates to vote according to how a majority of delegates from their state vote – again, a scenario most likely to occur in a state using the winner-take-all rule. As set out in the Rules of the Republican Party, delegates have the ability to vote according to the delegates’ preference, even if that is contrary to the outcome of each state’s primary. According to one source, the legal counsel for the Republican National Convention in 2008 stated: “[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.” Thus, if a delegate were to challenge his or her ability to vote as a free agent, he or she would have grounds under Rule 38.