By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, September 3, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan spoke to the Republican Women of Trussville about the 2016 elections, candidate qualifying, and running to be delegates to the Republican National Convention next year.
Lathan said that she had been chairman of the Alabama Republican Party only since February but has been a volunteer for the Republican Party for the last 38 years. She is one of 8 women chairs in the country.
Lathan said, “Party Chairman is a 40 to 50 hour a week unpaid position…..Electing Republicans is my pay.” Lathan said how she got in to Republican politics is easy. “All I did was raise my hand and volunteer to help.” Being a Republican Party activist, “Is worth it, because you love it. You believe it has value”, like your family and your Church.
Chairman Lathan said, “I have been to six conventions.” Qualifying to be a delegate is very simple. Qualifying begins on October 5th and ends November 6th. The primary is March 1. The reason qualifying starts so early is so that our troops overseas can receive printed ballots and be able to mail them back in time to participate in the election process.
Lathan said that any qualified registered voter in the state can run for delegates. “I don’t know how the Democrats do it and don’t care. There is a $150 fee to run for delegate and you have to fill out a form. You also have to pick a candidate. To run as a Trump delegate (for example) you give the party $150 and sign, ‘I pledge my support for Trump.’ If you change your mind you can’t switch back. Your candidate could be out of the running by March 1. Unless your candidate gets 50 percent plus 1 of the votes cast the delegates will be proportional. With 17 candidates it will probably be proportional. Will all 17 candidates show up in Alabama? Probably not. If I am guessing I would say the field will be down to 8 to 10 by March 1.”
Lathan said that Alabama does have 47 slots and three super delegates. Lathan (as state party chair), Alabama’s Republican National Committeeman, and Alabama’s Republican National Committeewoman are the three super delegates. Lathan said that 21 will be chosen by the Congressional Districts so every district will have at least three delegates. The other 26 are elected statewide and are at large delegates. There are no runoffs for delegate slots. Super delegates are not obligated to pledge to any candidate. “Traditionally I would vote for the person who gets the most votes,” in the Alabama Primary.
Lathan said that you can campaign for delegate. The delegates will actually appear on the presidential primary ballot and GOP Primary voters will select which delegates they want representing them and their candidate. If you are selected as a delegate, “You pay for everything yourself….your transportation, your hotel. You can go to national convention as a guest.” Guests are not guaranteed floor time in the convention and must work with the delegation to get passes. “We try to move passes around as a courtesy.” If you are a registered voter you can run for delegate and typically there will be some 18 and 19 year olds at the convention
Lathan said that the convention will be in Cleveland. She visited Cleveland for the first time during the GOP Presidential candidate debate last month and said that Cleveland was nice.
Lathan predicted that, “The Abortion plank is not moving. I do not see the Republican party move away from these conservative positions. The danger of moderating the platforms is, you lose your brand. We need to keep that. Lathan said that she understood that abortion was wrong at 18 years old. If abortion had been outlawed, we wouldn’t have to watch dismemberment of unborn babies being sold for their parts. It is insanity. It is indefensible. It is inexcusable. It has to stop.”
Lathan sponsored a defund Planned Parenthood resolution at the recent Republican National Committee meeting. That resolution will be sent to the President and all members of Congress
Lathan said that in 2012 former Senator Rick Santorum won Alabama; but he and former Speaker Newt Gingrich released their delegates. Santorum has 22, Gingrich 13, and Mitt Romney 12; but they (Santorum and Gingrich) released their delegates so Mitt Romney actually got all 50 Alabama delegates when it was time to vote. “You have to be loyal until they give up.”
We don’t know who will be in the race on March 1 but to run for delegate you have to commit to a candidate during qualifying.
Chairman Lathan said that the Alabama Republican Party has Jefferson County in its sights and is committed to helping Republicans win races in Jefferson County in 2016. There are 67 counties. We are looking at what races need to be protected, who needs our help, and where there are opportunities. We understand that the demographics for Jefferson County are very jigsawed. The DA’s race we have heard over and over again is very important. “We are very well aware of that and have that in our sights.”
Deciding where state party resources go is based on a scientific process that considers: statistics, money, turnout, history, etc. It is not based on who we like and who we don’t like. We are working with county party chairmen.
Chairman Terry Lathan is a former school teacher and a former Chair of the Mobile County Republican Party.
The Alabama Republican Party announced in a statement: “The Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee held its summer meeting this past Saturday, August 22 in Talladega, AL. At the meeting, the Committee officially set the qualifying open date for the 2016 election cycle. Qualifying will begin on Monday, October 5 at 8:30AM CDT at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters located at 3505 Lorna Road, Birmingham, AL. Republican candidates running for state office qualify with the Alabama Republican Party. Candidates running for local office must qualify with their respective Republican Party County Chairman. Qualifying dates for local offices are determined by the local county party. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has already announced that qualifying for all major party candidates for 2016 will close on Friday, November 6 at 5:00PM CST.”
The Republican Party said that they will be releasing more information on qualifying with the Republican Party in the coming weeks and said that candidate forms and helpful information will be made available on their website.
For more information about qualifying as a Republican Party contact ALGOP Political Director Reed Phillips at [email protected]
After President of the United States, the biggest race on next year’s ballot will by U.S. Senator. Incumbent Richard Shelby (R) has announced that he is seeking another term. Of course all seven congressional seats are up for grabs, although at this point our understanding is that all seven incumbents will seek re-election. Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is another high profile office on the 2016 ballot.