Race is on -- for coveted spots as delegates to GOP national convention
From Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March:
Alan Hays, a Republican state senator from Umatilla, has never been interested in national political conventions, dismissing them as "just a formality." He didn't even bother to drive to Tampa for his party's 2012 convention.
But this year is different. Hays, state co-chairman for Ted Cruz, is considering applying for one of Florida's 99 delegate slots for the July convention in Cleveland. "If it does go beyond the third ballot, I want to be there to vote for Cruz," Hays said.
Turmoil in the primary and the increasing chance of a contested convention are sparking unusual interest in what is typically a little-noticed exercise in political log-rolling and rewarding party faithful: choosing the state's convention delegates. Instead of just being props in a ceremonial coronation of a party's pre-ordained presidential nominee, delegates this year may actually make a history-changing decision.
Here's the bad news, however, for those itching to participate: If you're not a long-time, committed party activist, you can probably forget it. Even Hays' fellow Cruz co-chairman, state Rep. Neil Combee of Polk City, applied and got turned down.
Despite the efforts of the Cruz and Donald Trump campaigns in particular, the vast majority of delegates will probably be the same party regulars and insiders as usual. That's because they're chosen by party insiders who, in many cases, will end up picking themselves.
That may be bad news for Trump.