Jun 21, 2023 - Politics

Awarding GOP delegates through private caucuses could help Trump

Illustration of a long, red necktie folded into the shape of a checkmark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Michigan Republican Party's new process to award 2024 primary delegates is receiving criticism from some Republicans who say party leaders are changing rules to benefit former President Trump's candidacy.

Driving the news: A controversial new plan approved this month would change the party's process from awarding primary delegates at an open primary to selecting the majority of the state's delegates through closed-door caucus meetings.

Why it matters: Insiders say the plan helps Trump's bid as the state's party nominee as the caucus process makes it easier for party leadership (currently made up by a majority of Trump supporters) to decide who they want.

  • "To their credit, they have been hustling to get states to change their primary rules all around the country while the rest of the campaigns are sleeping," Republican strategist Jason Roe tells Axios.
  • Roe, former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, says the plan is "dumb AF."

Between the lines: Republicans are trying to avoid losing delegates after Democrats voted to move Michigan's presidential primary to Feb. 27, which would violate RNC rules.

  • Selecting delegates at the early primary could result in the national party reducing Michigan’s delegates from 55 to 12 at the Republican National Convention.
  • There still are questions over whether the early primary approved by Democrats will happen — it would require the Legislature to adjourn by November to take effect.

State of play: Michigan Republicans would award 70% of their 2024 delegates, who will vote to select the Republican nominee for president next year, through closed-door meetings instead of an open primary.

  • Under the plan, 39 delegates would be awarded based on the 13 U.S. House district caucuses held March 2, while 16 of the party's 55 delegates would be awarded based on Feb. 27 primary.

What they're saying: "The Michigan Republican Party stands firmly against any attempts to diminish representation of Michigan Republicans," party chair Kristina Karamo said in a release.

What's next: The plan needs approval from the Republican National Committee, which holds its convention July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

  • The final proposal outlining how the state will select delegates for the upcoming primary is due Oct. 1.
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