There has been some confusion about the delegate selection process for the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland July 18-21. The system is quite complex, and it differs in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. overseas territories.
All of South Carolina’s 50 delegates are honor-bound to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. If Trump does not capture a majority of all delegates seated at the convention (1,237) on the first ballot, all South Carolina delegates would be released to vote for their candidate of choice in what would then be a “contested” convention.
For a South Carolina Republican to be elected as a national delegate, that person would have to have attended a precinct meeting in March 2015, months before Trump declared his candidacy. As the Trump co-chair for Charleston County, I can tell you that most of our volunteers were new to the political process and would not have known about the March 2015 precinct meetings. The Trump campaign simply has a smaller pool of eligible candidates for national delegate to choose from than his rival campaigns.
While I remain optimistic that Trump will win on the first ballot in Cleveland, I certainly hope the national delegates will consider the will of the voters in their states or congressional districts when casting subsequent ballots.
Charleston County GOP Chair Larry Kobrovsky has been consistent in reminding party members of the will of the voters and the need to keep the thousands of first-time Republican primary voters from feeling disenfranchised.