President delegate selection event draws RepublicansFORT PIERRE — More than 200 Republicans packed into the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center on Saturday to compete for slots on South Dakota’s June 5 primary ballot as potential delegates for their presidential candidates.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
FORT PIERRE — More than 200 Republicans packed into the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center on Saturday to compete for slots on South Dakota’s June 5 primary ballot as potential delegates for their presidential candidates.
The day-long process ran much slower than many of the first-timers and even some of the veterans in the big crowd expected, with separate rounds of regional and state-level voting for slates for four candidates.
The final lists will include up to 25 delegates and 22 alternates for each candidate. Results were still being tabulated late Sunday afternoon.
“Today’s the first day of the campaign season,” state Sen. Tim Rave, of Baltic, said Saturday. He is chairman for the South Dakota Republican State Central Committee.
The names of each candidate’s slate of pledged delegates will be on the primary ballot.
A Republican candidate needs to receive at least 20 percent of the June 5 vote in order to qualify to send one or more of those delegates to the Republican national convention that starts Aug. 26 in Tampa, where the national nominee will be officially selected.
Those candidates receiving at least 20 percent will proportionately share South Dakota’s delegate slots. The higher that a person placed in Saturday’s voting on a candidate’s slate, the better that person’s chance of possibly being a pledged delegate to the national convention.
“This is why it’s important. We don’t know what’s going to happen until June 5,” said Tony Post, the South Dakota Republicans’ executive director.
The only three delegates certain to be on the ballot are those who are chairmen for their candidates.
They are state Sen. Dan Lederman for former U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, of Georgia; South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania; and U.S. Sen. John Thune for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Thune didn’t attend because of the funeral for his mother, Pat, which was held in Murdo Saturday.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, the fourth Republican candidate who has filed his letter of interest to be on the primary ballot, didn’t have a chairman for his South Dakota campaign yet.
South Dakota Democrats will gather for their delegating-slating process later this month in Pierre.
So far they have one candidate who has filed his letter of intent to be on the Democratic primary ballot June 5: President Barack Obama.