No Candidate Except Gov. Romney Presents a Full Slate of Delegates in Tennessee

With all the hoopla surrounding the Virginia ballot, I wondered how the candidates fared in my home state.  Tennessee works a little differently than other states.  In fact, it seems that every state has a little tweak, a little nuance that makes it a little different from the others.  That’s why the process is a great peek into how a candidate can handle complicated issues that require organization and hard work.

Tennessee will have fifty-eight delegates to the Tampa Republican National Convention. Each of our nine congressional districts will have three delegates.  That means that Presidential candidates must find delegates who are leaders in their community willing to walk around with a clipboard asking friends and strangers to sign their names and their addresses on behalf of their candidacy for their preferred Presidential candidate. Each delegate had to get one hundred valid signatures of registered voters.  So there’s several ways this could go wrong – illegible signatures, addresses that don’t match the person’s voter registration address (perhaps because they’ve moved), signers who claimed to be registered to vote but weren’t, or signers who thought they lived in a certain congressional district but didn’t.

My husband and I did this process in the 4th Congressional district of Tennessee on behalf of Gov. Romney, and the process wasn’t easy.  We literally took our little clipboards with us while taking the kids trick-or-treating, to our church parking lot, to the drop-off line at Zion Christian Academy, and football games!  It’s not an elegant process, rather it demands putting your feet on the pavement and your heart on your sleeve. Since almost no one in this day and age will sign a form without really understanding it, we had to explain why Mitt Romney should be the next President to my friends and neighbors, sometimes in the freezing cold.  During this contentious campaign season, this also meant our heated conversations usually made us forget the cold weather.

In addition to the congressional delegates, fourteen “at large” delegates will be elected. These delegates had a slightly easier job, because they weren’t restricted to a certain district and could signatures from any registered voter in our state.

A full slate of delegate candidates would be forty-one.

So which candidates were able to supply a full slate for Tennessee?  Only one:

Michelle Bachmann: 0

Gary Johnson: 0

Rick Santorum: 0

Ron Paul: 35

Newt Gingrich: 34

Rick Perry: 27

Mitt Romney: 48

(Here’s the complete list of how the candidates did.)

But Gingrich and Perry fans mustn’t worry: Tennessee is not as restrictive as Virginia. Candidates without a full slate can still win them at the polls and have delegates appointed later by the state Republican Executive Committee under party rules.

However, it’s worth noting that the Yankee governor received forty-eight delegates in our southern state, pulling off what no other candidate could.  What does this say about the conventional wisdom that southerners won’t warm to him?

Perhaps the Knoxville News Sentinel reported it best with this lead sentence:

Four of the nine Republican candidates in Tennessee’s presidential primary ballot will have no committed delegates on the ballot with them on the March 6 ballot, while Mitt Romney has a surplus wanting to represent him at the Republican National Convention.

Gingrich, Bachman, Santorum, Perry Give Romney a Christmas Gift: Failed to Qualify for Virginia Ballot!

During the last Presidential campaign, I was in charge of the entire state of Tennessee’s Romney delegation — overseeing our nine Congressional districts that encompass  ninety-five counties. (Read about me going into a bar with my petition here during hte last cycle, when a fight over the war broke out!) Every state has different legal requirements, which makes it an organizational feat to get on the ballot in every state.  This year, after having adopted a sweet baby girl from Africa, I wasn’t able to take an organizational role in the process.  However, I was asked to represent him in the fourth Congressional district, along with my husband again.  And so, for months, I went around Tennessee with some pens, a smile, and a clipboard with Gov. Romney’s name at the top, trying to make sure his name could legally appear on the ballot in the great state of Tennessee.

I assumed there were other poor delegates out there doing the same thing for their guy… nervously clearing their throat, hesitating to bring it up to their friends, sticking their ballots in their purses in case an appropriate moment in conversation presented itself. I told myself if I met someone trying to collect signatures with Rick Perry’s name on it, or Newt’s, or Paul’s, that I’d sign their petitions.  After all, we need to be able to select from a wide range of options, right?

Imagine my surprise when I woke up to find out this:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has failed to qualify for Virginia’s March 6 Republican primary, a development that complicates his bid to win the GOP presidential nomination. “After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary,” the Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday on its Twitter website. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also fell short of the 10,000 signatures of registered voters required for a candidate’s name to be on the primary ballot, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul will be on the ballot. . .

(via FoxNews, via NRO)

I honestly can’t believe they neglected to cross their t’s and dot their i’s.  And we’re expected to believe they’re competent enough for the White House?

Gingrich’s new campaign motto: I Can’t Run a Campaign, Just My Mouth.

So, this means that there are only two options for Virginia Republicans: Ron Paul or Mitt Romney.  Newt and  Perry couldn’t gather the required 10,000 signatures, and Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann may not have even submitted a petition in the first place.

Guys, this is a clarifying moment.  And not just for Virginians.

What Does The Straw Poll Mean for Romney Fans?

Dear Romney supporters,  I know it’s not fun to tune into the straw poll results and to see your candidate so far down the list.  But here’s a little perspective.  Gov. Romney won this straw poll last year, but that didn’t pave the way for him to the nomination.  In fact, John McCain — the eventual GOP nominee – got less than 1% of the votes in the 2007 Ames Straw Poll.  This year, Gov. Romney decided not to sink resources into this contest, which is a simply a fundraising racket for the Iowa state Republican party.  Ramesh Ponnuru has an interesting analysis of today’s straw poll results:

Michele Bachmann won the greatest victory of her political career the same day much of the rationale for her candidacy evaporated. The Minnesota congresswoman came in first in the Iowa Republican straw poll, effectively removing former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty from contention in the presidential race. But Texas governor Rick Perry entered the race today, too, and he may do to her what she just did to Pawlenty.

Bachmann appeals to Republican voters who are searching for an articulate and uncompromising conservatism, and to an overlapping set of voters who prefer their leaders to be evangelical Protestants. They can find those traits in Perry, too—but Perry also has executive experience and a record of accomplishment that Bachmann lacks.

None of this means that Bachmann cannot continue to gain followers. She may even win the Iowa caucuses. But Perry and Mitt Romney will now dominate the race for the Republican nomination: One of those two men is highly likely to be the Republican nominee.

Read the rest here.  And don’t be discouraged.  We suffered through 2008, but 2012 will be our year!

Wives, Submit to Your Husbands

But how on earth does this apply to the Presidential race of 2012?


Why the Michele Bachmann Hit Piece Was Wrong

I started my day today writing perhaps the most strident blog post I’ve ever written. I called it “The Betrayal of Michele Bachmann” and posted it in the Corner.  I was responding to the Daily Caller’s anonymously-sourced allegations that Michele Bachmann is “incapacitated” by migraines she attempts to control though “heavy pill use” and pulled out (by my standards) all the rhetorical stops.  I said the sources  — former aides — were “cowardly,” called their betrayal “disgusting,” and even threw in a few exclamation points.

Why get upset?  It’s politics, after all, what should I expect?  As one commenter succinctly stated, “Heat. Kitchen.”  I can also understand Ramesh Ponnuru’s argument — if the story is true, then inquiry is legitimate.  Yet we’re so far from legitimate inquiry that we can’t see it with the Hubble telescope.  And the reasons are simple: cowardice and evidence.

I don’t use the word cowardice lightly.  Here we have former aides who say they’re “terrified” by her condition.  They even deliberately chose to say that she’s “incapacitated” for days at a time and made vague accusations about pill use.  Yet they can’t even muster up the courage to identify themselves?  If the stakes really are so high, surely their patriotism would compel them to come forward so that we can ask some questions, weigh their credibility, and discern whether they had enough access to the candidate to know what she’s endured.  By remaining anonymous we can’t cross-examine them (so to speak) and discover the truth.

Then there’s the evidence.  Or lack thereof.  Anonymous aides expressed terror at her condition, yet if you read the entire article you’ll find that she allegedly missed a grand total of one planned campaign event . . . in 2010.  A second lurid tale concerns a migraine so bad that she merely “managed to attend several events in California, including an appearance before a California chapter of the Eagle Forum and a fundraiser in Palm Springs.”  Oh, but she was “in pain throughout.”  Nice to know.

Look, I’m not naive.  I know that politics is a messy business and that reporters often live or die by anonymous sources.  But we don’t have to play by those rules.  We don’t have to stand by while honorable people are smeared by individuals who don’t have the courage to be named or the evidence to support their allegations.

Michele Bachmann has a personal story that Hollywood would love if she were liberal.  A mother of five took in foster child after foster child, grew alarmed at the poor quality of their mandatory public education, and then launched herself into the political process to improve their lives.  They’d pitch Julia Roberts for the part if Bachmann had only been crusading against a power plant or land development.  As it is, she has to settle for the Palin treatment — from the Left and the Right.

Whether it’s Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, human beings deserve better treatment, but they’ll never receive it if we acquiesce to the politics of the gutter.

One final note: Before I get too carried away by exclamation points, I need to remember this cautionary tale: