In an e-mail to local Republican officials this morning, Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey wrote the party is "making one final attempt" at seeking a waiver from rules governing the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The rules for the convention currently would bind Minnesota delegates to support the winner of the presidential preference ballot at Republican precinct caucuses next year.
In past years, Minnesota delegates to the Republican National Convention were not bound by the results of the presidential preference ballot conducted at precinct caucuses. The new rules binding delegates have been criticized by some Republicans who want to retain the ability to support the presidential candidate of their choice regardless of the results of the preference ballot conducted at precinct caucuses.
In 2012, Rick Santorum won the presidential preference ballot, but the majority of the Minnesota delegates to the Republican National Convention supported Ron Paul.
Downey wrote the "national trend is strong toward binding [delegates]." He added the party has been contacted by supporters of the current rule binding delegates who believe it would "help ensure our Caucus Straw Ballot results better reflect the grassroots support for a presidential candidate."
If the request for a waiver is not granted, the party has reviewed another option for bypassing the rules which bind delegates to the winner of the presidential preference ballot at Republican precinct caucuses.
While state law requires a preference ballot be conducted for president at precinct caucuses, the Republican Party of Minnesota State Executive Committee has discussed not conducting a preference ballot next year. If there is no preference ballot at Republican precinct caucuses, then delegates cannot be bound to the results.
In response to questions about the law requiring a preference ballot, a representative of Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon wrote his office "has no enforcement authority" to require a political party to conduct a preference ballot. They added the party should consult with their legal counsel if they had any "further questions about enforcement or legal issues surrounding the preference ballot."