Missouri GOP snubs state convention results in new presidential delegate selections

NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel And Convention Center on February 24, 2024 in National Harbor, Maryland.  Attendees descended upon the hotel outside of Washington DC to participate in the four-day annual conference and hear from conservative speakers from around the world who range from journalists, U.S. lawmakers, international leaders and businessmen. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump in a pre-recorded message told The Danbury Institute, a group opposed to abortion, that he hopes to protect “innocent life” if elected in November. In this photo, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel And Convention Center on Feb. 24, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images for the Missouri Independent

All of Missouri’s votes at the Republican National Convention are pledged to the nomination of former President Donald Trump, but the fight over who will cast those votes is putting new rips in the fabric of the state GOP.

On Wednesday, the executive committee of the Missouri Republican Party chose 27 at-large delegates and 26 alternates to replace the delegation elected at the May 4 state convention and discarded June 28 by the convention’s contests committee after a complaint about the selection process.

The contests committee ruled that “alarming irregularities” plagued the election at the Republican state convention in Springfield. It focused on a five-hour credentialing process that it said undermined confidence that the delegates on hand were those selected to attend the convention at county mass meetings.

The list of new delegates, obtained by The Independent, is heavily weighted toward the slate that was prepared for the convention, but never nominated, by state party Chairman Nick Myers. 

The executive committee could have resubmitted the discarded list. But only five people selected at the convention – two delegates and three alternates – were selected for the replacement delegation. And three of those delegates told The Independent they didn’t agree to be included.

Carla Grewe of St. Louis, elected as an alternate at the state convention and in the new list, said she and her husband Gary Grewe – like her, elected both at the convention and on Wednesday list – never agreed to be split off from their slate.

“We think what the party has done is horribly corrupt,” Grewe said in a text to The Independent. “Nick should re-submit the ‘Truly Grassroots for Trump’ slate.”

Sam Alexander of Fair Play, in a text message, said he is asking to be removed from the new delegate list.

Of the 27 newly chosen delegates, 20 were a delegate or alternate on the party leadership list. Of the 26 newly chosen alternates, 10 were on the party leadership slates.

The original delegation included two of the party’s three leading candidates for governor, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and state Sen. Bill Eigel, and they were not in the new delegation. 

“I wouldn’t be a part of any slate other than the one duly elected by the GOP State Convention,” Eigel said in a text to The Independent. “Anyone participating in this new ‘Swamp Slate’ – from the GOP executive committee to the delegates themselves accepting a role in this sham – is part of the problem.”

Ashcroft declined to comment.

Recognizable names in the new delegation include former U.S. Rep. Billy Long, state Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, a candidate for secretary of state, and Missouri Right to Life Executive Director Susan Klein.

The move to reject the state convention-elected delegation is causing rumblings of discontent in the GOP.

“The state party was responsible for the disorganization at the state convention and now in charge of hand-picking new delegates and alternates to attend the national convention, less than two weeks away,” read a statement from Mark Schneider, chair of the 6th Congressional District Republican Central Committee posted to several social media accounts. “Hotel rooms, flights and other arrangements have been made. This is an absolute disgrace to the process, our party and the grassroots movement that took their time to participate at the county and state level.”

Schneider said the solution is to resubmit the names elected at the convention.

“The in-fighting in our party must stop and it starts with state leadership recognizing the results of the state convention and allowing those duly elected delegates and alternates to attend the national convention,” he wrote.

While the deadline for submitting the new delegation was 4 p.m. Friday, the deadline for appealing the contests committee decision is Saturday. Coby Cullins, a member of the convention-elected delegation, is preparing the appeal, he wrote in an email to The Independent.

Cullins said he believes the contests committee was a “tainted jury” influenced by Missouri Republican National Committee member Carrie Almond.

The appeal will present evidence that the state convention result should be accepted.

“We have the facts on our side, including hours of video proof and almost 300 notarized affidavits.”

If the contests committee doesn’t reverse itself, there is a final appeal to the convention’s credentials committee.

“We hope that this completely different committee will allow us to speak and if that happens we are confident the truth will prevail,” Cullins said. “The grassroots of Missouri are tired of being told to ‘get in line.’ We are fighting back in an attempt to take our Republican Party back from the establishment swamp.”

Missouri Republican Party spokeswoman Erica Choinka did not return telephone and text messages seeking comment.

Dan O’Sullivan, one of two candidates for delegate who filed the complaint, said he doesn’t see how an appeal can succeed.

“I can’t imagine how some would appeal our decision without being able to produce a list of people that were credentialed at the convention,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan said he was told there were offers made to include more of the delegates and alternates elected at the convention but they were refused.

O’Sullivan and Derrick Good of Jefferson County, who also filed a complaint, were selected as delegates on Wednesday.

The May 4 convention was a chaotic affair, and the contests committee report states that the evidence shows many delegates arrived without their credentials, only to find a party staff using incorrect lists and distributing newly minted credentials without verifying who was receiving them.

It took five hours to get the convention seated, followed by a fight over the chairmanship that elected Sophia Shore, manager of Eigel’s campaign for governor, over Eddie Justice, the party leadership choice.

Under the convention rules, delegations were elected by slates that had to have all the slots filled. Before slates were nominated, there was a fight over what Shore’s backers considered an inconsistency in the rules. 

One portion of the rules said the slates had to have 27 delegates and 27 alternates, while another said that 16 delegates and 16 alternates were to be nominated at congressional district conventions and offered by Myers at the state convention.

Missouri can send 54 delegates and 54 alternates to the Republican National Convention scheduled to start July 15 in Milwaukee. Of that number, there are three each from the state’s eight congressional districts, 27 at-large and three slots reserved for party leaders.

Once the convention agreed to the change that removed the allowance for 16 delegates and 16 alternates offered by Myers, the Truly Grassroots for Trump slate was the only complete slate nominated. 

The fight over the rules was cited in the complaints filed by O’Sullivan and Good but the contests committee found that the credentialing process was so badly flawed that it did not need to consider that portion of the complaint.

“The committee reserves the right to reconsider any of the remaining issues, should there be an appeal,” the report stated.

O’Sullivan said he filed the complaint because the convention was so poorly run, not because he was upset he wasn’t chosen as a delegate. He said the party leadership is to blame for the poorly organized start to the convention and it was so bad the meeting shouldn’t count.

“They didn’t do the credentialing correctly,” O’Sullivan said. “There was no conspiracy to screw it up. It was incompetence. That’s embarrassing for everybody.”

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