California Republicans agreed to a rule change Sunday, Sept. 8, allowing the party to send GOP delegates next summer to the national convention even if President Trump isn’t on a state ballot.
The measure was in reaction to a law that was adopted previously this year by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), which required presidential candidates to publish their tax returns as the prerequisite to appearing on the ballot.
Newsom’s bill was seen as a direct attack against Trump. The president and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have already sued the state of California.
Shawn Steel, member of the Republican National Committee, said he was confident the law would be annulled in court. He said Sunday’s rule change was, if necessary, a stop-gap measure.
“It’s just planning ahead,” he said.
The one-time change, worked out with the Trump campaign, provides a way of sending state delegates to the national convention, even if Trump is blocked from the state ballot.
The rule change would allow the party to hold a special convention after the March 2020 primary in California and to determine the candidate, in this case Trump, and to organize delegates to send to the convention.
If the law of tax return disclosure is not defeated, Trump could simply not participate on the California Republican primary ballot given that the RNC does not require candidates to appear on ballots in all 50 states.
“This measure prevents the Democrats from keeping the California Republican Party from sending a full slate of delegates to the national convention,” former California GOP chairman Ron Nehring told The Hill.
“The Constitution is pretty clear concerning the qualifications for being president, and the courts are likely to see the Democrats attempt to add their own layer of qualifications, so I don’t expect their law to hold up for long. Nonetheless, the party appears to have found a solid way around it.”
Includes reporting from the Associated Press