Former Oklahoma Republican Chair and current State Auditor, Gary Jones, is speaking out about the efforts to sway the RNC Rules Committee to one view or the other. Tulsa World reporter, Randy Krehbiel, has caught up with Gary and got an interesting batch of quotes from him.
This has brought about a response from OKGOP Executive Committeeman, Steve Byas. Steve is a college professor of history and he has published the Oklahoma Constitution Newspaper for over 30 years.
I'm posting excerpts from Gary's story in the Tulsa World, along with Steve's reply from his social media site.
I consider both of these men to be deeply committed to the GOP and very wise about party politics. Randy Krehbiel is one of the decent reporters in the commercial press who tries to capture a story accurately.
An excerpt from the Tulsa World...
“I’m getting on average 20 or 30 emails a day,” he said earlier this week.
As a member of the Rules Committee, Jones has a say in whether the convention throws open the nomination or sticks to script. Never in the Trump camp, he supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primaries and was elected to the convention as a delegate for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
But he doesn’t think the Rules Committee or the convention will or should deny Trump the party’s nomination.
“The only chance he won’t be the nominee is if Donald Trump stands up before the convention and says, ‘I believe I can’t win, give the nomination to someone else.’ And that’s not going to happen,” Jones said.
Some of the Rules Committee’s 112 members have been lobbying for a “conscience clause” freeing delegates from voting according to the instructions of their state parties — that is, according to the results of state primaries and caucuses.
By doing this, the thinking goes, Trump would lose enough delegates to allow someone else to take the nomination.
Almost no one believes a majority of the Rules Committee will go for this idea, but only 28 votes are required to bring a minority report to the full convention.
Jones said he doesn’t see that happening.
“I think they’ll be lucky to get a half-dozen (votes),” he said.
“My response to the conscience clause is that my conscience tells me to vote the way the people of Oklahoma expect me to vote. And that’s the way they voted.”
Read Randy Krehbiel's full report at the Tulsa World.
A post from Steve Byas, to his Oklahoma Constitution Facebook group..
A Tulsa World article was reprinted today in the Oklahoman, citing Gary Jones as getting "pressure" to vote to unbind the delegates. I have gotten emails, etc. to ask that I do that, but I hardly consider it "pressure." In Jones' defense, it was the reporter that used the word "pressure" not Jones.
Jones is on the Rules committee and he said, "My conscience tells me to vote the way the people of Oklahoma expect me to vote. And that's the way they voted." Actually, how Jones votes on the Rules committee is up to him---votes on the Platform Committee and Rules Committee were not on the ballot in the March 1 primary. Jones was elected by the state convention to be a national delegate, and then was elected by delegation to the Rules Committee.
What does he mean that the people of Oklahoma voted for him to vote against the unbinding of the delegates? They voted for Ted Cruz, not Trump. Does that mean that he should vote to unbind the delegates to vote for Trump? No. It means that he should use his judgment to vote as he thinks is best for the country and the party. A delegate is much like a member of Congress. We elect both to use their own judgment.
I was elected as a delegate from the 4th district convention. I was not elected by the "people" in the March 1 primary. I am bound by state party rules to vote for Cruz until he releases me; after that, i am not bound to vote for anyone. Insofar as how to vote on the Rules or the Platform, no one has instructed me to do anything---not the voters on March 1, nor the delegates at the 4th district convention. Jones' reasoning is incorrect on this. He was not elected to support Cruz or Trump --- he is actually bound to Marco Rubio --- if he wants to keep the delegates bound, that is his business, but I don't agree with his putting it out there that we are somehow "bound" to vote for whatever helps Trump.
I will vote on the Rules and the Platform according to my best judgment, and if Cruz releases me, I will vote again according to my best judgment. I have received suggestions on what to do, with some saying support Cruz, others Trump, etc. I don't consider it "pressure." I don't see one thing wrong with attempting to sway my opinion, and I don't see anything nefarious about folks trying to sway Jones' opinion. The people's opinion I care the most about are the folks who elected me at the 4th district convention.
Follow Steve Byas' publication; The Oklahoma Constitution