Michigan Republicans plan to use primary, caucuses to award presidential delegates

Tribune Content Agency

LANSING, Mich. — The leaders of the Michigan Republican Party are expected to vote Saturday on a plan to use a two-part system to pick which GOP candidates for president will win the state’s delegates to the national convention in July 2024.

Under a proposed “resolution of intent,” obtained by The Detroit News, 10 of the state’s 52 national convention delegates would be given to the presidential candidate who wins the state’s Feb. 27, 2024 primary election. However, the majority of the delegates, 39, would be divvied up by 13 congressional district caucus meetings occurring on March 2, according to the proposal.

Three other delegates would automatically go to Michigan’s members of the Republican National Committee.

In the past, the primary election has primarily dictated which candidates’ delegates were selected. In 2016, for instance, Michigan’s delegates were awarded in proportion to the statewide vote.

The Michigan Republican Party’s state committee is expected to vote on the “resolution of intent” Saturday during a meeting in Grand Rapids. Michigan Republicans crafted the plan in discussions with the Republican National Committee, according to two sources with knowledge of the exchanges who were not authorized to discuss them.

“Our policy committee approved it Thursday evening. We will need to approve it Saturday,” wrote Malinda Pego, co-chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, in an email to state committee members.

Kristina Karamo, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Republican primary race in Michigan is expected to be contested with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence among the challengers to former President Donald Trump for the nomination. DeSantis and Pence have both made stops in Michigan in recent months, and Trump is scheduled to visit on June 25.

But Michigan Republicans have faced challenges when it comes to next year’s primary because Democrats, who control the state Legislature and worked with the Democratic National Committee, moved the date of the election from March to Feb. 27.

The Republican National Committee’s rules would penalize Michigan Republicans for scheduling their primary that early by decreasing its number of delegates at the GOP national convention.

“The Michigan primary is run by local and county election clerks and supervised by the Michigan secretary of state, and there is no feasible manner for the Michigan Republican Party to run a primary on any date other than the official date selected by the state,” the “resolution of intent” acknowledges.

By awarding 10 delegates to the winner of the primary, the Michigan GOP will “ensure that Michigan voters who identify with the Republican Party have the incentive to participate in the primary election currently scheduled for Feb. 27, 2024,” according to the proposed resolution.

The idea will also “minimize the penalty” for noncompliance with national Republican rules, the resolution says.

Before the primary, at some point in February, the GOP plan says there would be a “presidential candidate rally” in Michigan.

After the primary, on March 2, there would be 13 congressional district caucuses, featuring delegates selected at county conventions, with votes on the GOP presidential contenders. Each district’s three delegates would go to the district’s presidential winner, according to the proposal.

“The district shall require that all RNC delegates and alternates be bound to the district winner for the first two rounds,” the resolution says of the Republican National Committee convention in July 2024.

The Michigan Republican Party has to file its final plan for the presidential primary with the Republican National Committee by Oct. 1.