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How the GOP presidential scrum — and new delegate rules — could make Minnesota matter in a nomination fight

REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking on behalf of his son at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in May.

On October 12, Rafael Cruz, the father and chief surrogate of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, will be in Minnesota. He’ll talk to members of the Freedom Club, address a public event in Woodbury, and do a round of media interviews.  

Why devote so much time in a state where activists have shown little interest in Cruz?

Janet Biehoffer, the national committeewoman of the Minnesota Republican Party, says that GOP presidential candidates are reconsidering courting states like Minnesota thanks to the new rules regarding how delegates will be bound to candidates at the Republican National Convention next July.

According to those new rules: based on the results of primaries and caucuses, all delegates are bound to their candidates through the first floor ballot in Cleveland — as long as the candidate remains in the race.

“However, if no presidential candidate has enough votes to win on the first ballot, as of the second ballot, every Minnesota national delegate’s vote [along with all other delegates’ votes] will be up for grabs,” Biehoffer explained. “Thus laying the groundwork in Minnesota is a wise move for presidential candidates.”

Minnesota will send 38 delegates to the Republican Party national convention next July in Cleveland. Each of the state’s congressional districts elects three delegates.  Eleven delegates are elected at the state GOP convention in May, and the party’s three Republican National Committee members — Biehoffer, Chris Tiedeman, and party chair Keith Downey — are automatic delegates.

The delegates will be bound proportionately by the results of a poll taken at the March 1 precinct caucuses.  The proportionality will be determined by the percentages that a candidate receives, provided he or she receives a minimum of 10 percent.  

Confusing? Yes it is, acknowledges Biehoffer, which is why she has been conferring regularly with RNC attorneys and educating activists and congressional district leaders on the process. “But, it opens the door to a lot of possibilities,” she said. 

Biehoffer thinks that Republicans will know whether a candidate has enough first ballot delegates to get the nomination by mid-April, after the states have held their primaries and caucuses.

If there is no clear first-ballot winner, the likelihood grows that Minnesotans will have actual face time with more candidates. Or at least their surrogates.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bill Willy on 10/05/2015 - 01:27 pm.

    Face time with Ted’s dad

    “He’ll talk to members of the Freedom Club, address a public event in Woodbury, and do a round of media interviews.

    “Why devote so much time”?

    Good question. I hope he’ll be able to stand the pace and strain… Talk to the Freedom Club. That should eat up a good hour or two. Public event in Woodbury? Another couple hours, at least. And then the biggest time consumer of all, media interviews. No telling how long those could take. I suppose it will depend on what time the jet’s scheduled to blast off for the next grueling round of up close and personal meet ‘n greets elsewhere.

    “We educate the public about conservative principles and elect candidates who support these principles.”

    So says what must be the mission statement at the top of

    Freedom Club President, Richard Andoshek puts it this way: “The cost of freedom is high. As Freedom Club members we stand tall and are proud to be Americans. We are willing to stand up, show up and speak up for our freedoms. We choose to be part of the solution for preserving our Freedoms.”

    Yes indeed: The cost of freedom IS high. Freedom Club, Minnesota’s membership page puts it this way:

    “Platinum Membership – $7,000

    “Gold Membership – $5,000

    “Silver Membership – $3,000”

    Value/Perks details (number of Spouse memberships, seats at Spring Dinner, number of luncheon guests, etc.) available at:

    In other words, if you’re not already a member, you’ll need to get a move on if you want to participate in some of that precious face time that will be doled out next Monday. If you don’t have a membership and aren’t able to secure one this week, and if you’re not able to make it to wherever the (time and location non-specified) public event is going to be held in Woodbury (the YWCA or YMCA or the Boys and Girls Club, or one of the homeless shelters, maybe?), you’ll have to get that face time via the product of those media interviews from your favorite media source (assuming they were in the interviews mix).

    “…it opens the door to a lot of possibilities.”

    Obviously… It looks like the realization of this particular, October 12th, possibility is shaping up to be a prime example of Republican’s deep and abiding belief in “getting out there” to “press the flesh,” listen to and “take the pulse” of the average American’s view of issues that are important to them (which, I assume, is the Real answer to the question of, “Why devote so much time in a state where activists have shown little interest in Cruz?”).

    And by the way. . . In the interest of fair and balanced equal time free plugs, I’d say a person is likely to get a much better perspective on what may actually be happening when it comes to American democracy and freedom from Bill and Judith Moyers than Ted Cruz’s dad. They’ll be in town too, sharing their perspectives on November 12th as part of MinnPost’s Anniversary celebration. The tickets are $40 to $50, but that’s a much better “value” and (way) more competitive deal than Freedom Club’s offering.

    (Funny how that works, isn’t it? I mean, how is it possible that a non-profit journalistic organization can find ways of offering similar and equally, if not far superior, “communication experiences” or “possibilities” for so much less money than a private, deeply conservative organization that proudly claims to know the True Cost of Freedom?)

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