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Missouri presidential delegates rejected by Republican National Convention committee

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 31: Former President and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024 in New York City. The former president was found guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 31: Former President and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024 in New York City. The former president was found guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

A chaotic credentialing process at the GOPs May 4 state convention had so many problems that the party was given until Friday afternoon to find replacement delegates.

The Missouri Republican Party must replace 54 national convention delegates and alternates selected at its chaotic state convention because of “alarming irregularities” in the process, the Republican National Convention Committee on Contests ruled Friday.

The list of rejected delegates includes two of the major GOP candidates for governor, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and state Sen. Bill Eigel.

“The committee holds that the State Convention was not properly credentialed, and that any slate of delegates and alternate delegates adopted at the State Convention must be discarded,” states the report signed by Chairwoman Jeanne Luckey of Mississippi.

The committee acted after investigating complaints from state convention delegates Daniel O’Sullivan of St. Louis County and Derrick Good of Jefferson County.

They alleged delegates to the state convention were not properly credentialed as the convention was organized, that the rules for selecting the state’s at-large delegates were improperly changed during the convention and that some delegates were listed on more than one slate of names in violation of the rules.

The committee, after determining that the complaint about credentialing had merit, wrote that it did not need to consider the other complaints and made no ruling on them.

“Contestants have provided ample proof of alarming irregularities in the state convention’s credentialing procedures, including the absence of names on delegate lists, the distribution of delegate credentials to alternate delegates without confirming who they were replacing, and the failure to ensure alternate delegates were raised from the same counties as the delegates they were replacing, among other things,” the report stated.

The committee’s ruling gives the state party executive committee until 5 p.m. Friday to select a new set of at-large delegates and alternates.

The executive committee will meet that deadline, the Missouri Republican Party said in a statement to The Independent.

The state party had no role in the determination by the national Contests Committee, the statement read.

“We understand the urgency and importance of this matter and are working diligently to ensure that all proper procedures are followed within the constrained deadline,” the statement read. “While this process unfolds, we remain focused on selecting a delegation that will represent Missouri well at the RNC.”

O’Sullivan, who ran for Congress in 1996 and has been a member of the St. Louis County Republican Central Committee for more than 20 years, said the ruling highlights just one set of problems springing from the convention.

“They can’t produce a list of who was in attendance,” O’Sullivan said. “They can’t certify who the delegates to the convention were, so the committee can’t say that the product of the convention was valid, and they therefore did not even deal with the questions we had regarding things that occurred during the event itself.”

O’Sullivan expects to be on the list of delegates that will be selected to replace those elected at the convention.

So does Good, a Jefferson County attorney who also has been a long-time county committee member.

“The State Executive Committee will put together a new delegate list by the end of the week, and I’m confident those are folks that are committed and able to participate,” Good said.

The main fight at the convention was between people relatively new to the convention process and those who had been party stalwarts with many conventions under their belts. It became clear after the congressional district conventions that the faction that would buck the party establishment had a convention majority.

The projected timeline for the convention was for it to have all delegates seated by 9 a.m., the time it was officially scheduled to begin, and for all business to be completed by 2 p.m. The credentialing process, however, took five hours and the only business completed by 2 p.m., when the convention took a lunch break, was the election of Sophia Shore of Camden County, as convention chair over Eddie Justice.

Shore manages Eigel’s campaign for governor.

“The MO GOP, whether it be nefarious intentions or just incompetency, completely botched their one job — credentialing,” Shore said in a statement to The Independent. “It is asinine that the contest committee would accept a challenge that was orchestrated by the MO GOP on the basis of their own error and then reward them for their incompetence.”

Missouri has 54 delegate votes at the GOP national convention in Milwaukee, which is set to begin July 15. Of that number, 24 were elected at eight congressional district conventions in April and 27 were elected as at-large delegates at the state convention on May 4. Three additional delegate slots are reserved for party leaders.

There were also 27 alternates selected at the state convention.

All delegates were elected on slates to fill all available seats but a change in rules during the afternoon session made The Truly Grassroots for Trump slate the only one presented for a vote.

The executive committee should restore the delegation without changes, Shore said in her statement.

“The MO GOP should own their mistakes, re-submit the Truly Grassroots for Trump slate elected by the convention delegates, and be done with it,” she said.

Many of the delegates selected at the convention have not reserved their hotel rooms in Milwaukee and seem unlikely to attend, Good said. But they would not have been removed as delegates if the rules written before the convention had been followed, he said.

“If they just played by the rules, there would be no complaint,” Good said. “They had the votes. They did a good job of building a coalition going into it.”

The delegate slates prepared, but ultimately withdrawn, had the same goal as the now-discarded delegates who were selected, to re-elect Trump, he said.

“There’s a place to have these kinds of fights,” he said. “There are rules to have them under, and then at the end of the day, hopefully we find a way to come back together for the common goals.”

The afternoon session was marked by disputes over whether those who left for lunch could re-enter the convention, whether the rules could be changed and how slates of delegates and amendments to the platform had to be presented to be in order.

“When the credentialing went to hell, the confidence in the people running the convention was lost,” O’Sullivan said.

After the vote, delegates drifted away and the convention ended, without adopting a platform, when there was no longer a quorum to conduct business.

“The event itself was embarrassing,” O’Sullivan said.