Just before the June, 2010 Washington State Republican Party convention, WSRP chair Luke Esser sent a pledge letter out to the G.O.P. senatorial candidates who were challenging Sen. Patty Murray (my emphasis):
We the undersigned Republican candidates for U.S. Senate herby urge the Washington State Republican Party to not make a pre-primary endorsement or nomination of any candidate in this year’s race for U.S. Senate, and to offer equal access to party resources for all Republican candidates. A pre-primary endorsement or nomination would only serve to divide our party at a time when we all need to be united in the effort to defeat Patty Murray. [….]
As Esser explained to Politico:
I thought it would be a mistake for anybody to win an endorsement. I think the body and the state party believe at this point that we should have a competitive and vigorous primary. May the best candidate win.
That’s some pathetic spin. The back story is that the Teabaggers were highly energized with a strong presence at the 2010 convention. The Teabaggers were pushing for a Clint Diddier nomination over latecomer Dino Rossi. Diddier had just earned Sarah Palin’s endorsement. A nomination fight would have have gotten ugly!
There’s only one problem with not nominating anyone in 2010. Take it away, Goldy (emphasis in original):
In what could turn out to be massive political blunder with far-reaching consequences, a question has been raised as to whether Mitt Romney can legally qualify to appear on the Washington ballot under existing state law:
WAC 434-215-165 Presidential nominations by major political parties.
Nominations for president and vice-president by major political parties are conducted at each party’s national convention. Immediately following the convention, each party must submit a certificate of nomination and list of electors to the secretary of state in order to place the nominees on the presidential general election ballot.
That is the procedure by which presidential candidates from “major political parties” qualify for Washington’s general election ballot. But according to a public records request that was forwarded my way, the Washington State Republican Party may no longer be a major party:
RCW 29A.04.086 tells us that “”Major political party” means a political party of which at least one nominee for president, vice president, United States senator, or a statewide office received at least five percent of the total vote cast at the last preceding state general election in an even-numbered year.”
The problem for the state G.O.P. is that the Senate race was the only state-wide race in 2010. And, as far as anyone can tell, and consistent with Esser’s pledge letter and statement, there was no actual Republican nominee for statewide office in 2010.
The implication is that the WSRP is now, technically, a minor party in Washington state.
Why is this important? Well…it is embarrassing. Republicans losing major party status will be the laughing stock of Washington state…with some assistance from the Teabaggers, Sarah Palin, and Dino Rossi’s timorousness in announcing his run.
But the other, potentially more serious consequence, is that the WSRP would be required to nominate a presidential candidate according to the rules for a minor party:
(2) In order to nominate candidates for the offices of president and vice president of the United States, United States senator, United States representative, or any statewide office, a nominating convention shall obtain and submit to the filing officer the signatures of at least one thousand registered voters of the state of Washington.
(7) Be submitted to the appropriate filing officer not later than one week following the adjournment of the convention at which the nominations were made.
The 2012 WSRP State Convention ended on June 2. Oopsiedoodles!
So, unless the state Republicans submitted those 1,000 signatures and complied with all the other requirements of RCW 29A.20.161, Mitt Romney is not eligible to be on the Washington state general election ballot.
Should that happen, the Washington state Republicans will be the laughing stock of the nation.