As noted this morning, the Fourth Congressional District GOP made a bunch of money at its convention on April 21. Like, a lot more than usual; $11K versus the usual $5-6K (of which a couple thousand goes to renting the hall and paying other incidentals for running the event).
That should be a lot of money going to 4th CD candidates, including endorsed congressional candidate Tony Hernandez. It was in that spirit – having a new start in the 4th CD – that the money was given (bear in mind that only aboiut $6K of that came from actual delegate admission fees; the rest was above and beyond what was required to attend).
But a little bird told me over the weekend that there have been discussions among the new CD4 GOP Executive Committee about spending that windfall to help send CD4′s national convention delegates to Tampa.
Now, I was on the 4th CD’s “Nominations Committee”, which vetted candidates for all CD offices – delegates to the national convention as well as executive committee offices. One of the questions we asked – along with “do you have anything on your record that could be used to embarass the 4th CD GOP?”, because that’s how the DFL and media roll – was “if you’re elected delegate to the national convention, can you afford the $3-5,000 it takes to attend”, between registraiton fees, travel, food, lodging, and the de rigeur $1,000+ donation to the party. There were some among the new crowd that thought the party paid for this sort of thing.
No. Not even when times are good at the state party, which, perhaps you’ve heard, they’re not.
Over the weekend, a source with knowledge of the inner workings of the new 4th CD GOP executive committee’s inner workings told me that there was a plan afoot to divert that windfall toward helping the 4th CD’s national convention delegates get to Tampa. According to this source, the CD’s new chairman felt that giving $5,000 to Tony Hernandez would be “flushing money down the drain” (quote from my source, attributed to the new chair).
That has been the conventional wisdom in the 4th for a long, long time, of course. But redistricting has moved the needle; the 4th CD was a 70-30 district; with all the moderate-Republican districts in Stillwater, Afton, Lake Elmo and Woodbury, full of people who moved to the burbs to get away from DFL hegemony and its side effects, it’s probably more like 60-40 today.
And that’s without Betty McCollum pissing off 3/4 of the population of Stillwater by opposing the bridge. And without Tony Hernandez’ ability to reach out to the district’s burgeoning Latino community, who may vote DFL, but who are largely conservatives.
It’s not the same 4th CD that it was two years ago.
Speaking for myself? I paid my $30 to get into the convention, on the assumption that the money would go (after expenses) toward the business and activities of the 4th CD GOP. Not sending people to a party in Tampa.
And while I speak only for myself, I’m going to guess that more than a few of the people who ponied up extra money at the convention had that intention in mind.
I started asking around; is there any intention of diverting the windfall convention money to cover travel expenses for the district’s Ron Paul delegates?
I did some checking; as of today, the 4th CD GOP executive committee seems to be leaning toward supporting Tony Hernandez’ race against Betty McCollum. There is, apparently, an executive committee meeting and vote tonight at which the matter will be decided.
I hold no elected position in the 4th CD – and I’m fine with that. Spare time is a good thing – and “power” within the 4th CD is a relative thing. I get my political thrills as a pundit; being able to help out within the party, or on a campaign, is a bonus.
But there are people in the 4th CD GOP’s new “establishment” who apparently think that their job is to work toward getting Ron Paul nominated. There is that, of course, and it’s a legitimate aim…
…but their job, once they got elected to positions of party authority in the Fourth, is to work to get the district’s Congressional and Legislative candidates elected.
The new guard in the 4th CD GOP won their offices, fair and square. But they represent a lot of other people who are ready to work really, really hard to make a difference here at home.
And while they – I – will send our best wishes to Tampa, we want our money working here at home.
And the 4th CD GOP’s leadership would do well to remember that. They get to run the Party – but it’s not party-time.
UPDATE: the “cyber-meeting” vote is tomorrow- not tonight. I regret any confusion caused by my error.
UPDATE 2: It’s possible I got a few of the numbers wrong – one of the hazards of not being an actual elected officer.
It doesn’t affect the actual conclusions at issue.
More later this week.