A rough detente has been reached in Michigan's bruising inter-Republican Party debate about presidential primary rules.
Last night, the party chair, Saul Anuzis, reached an accord with the two RNC committee members, Chuck Yob and Holly Hughes. The rules they agreed on are complicated, but the gist is that, in exchange for some concessions from Anuzis, Yob and Hughes will be made convention officers if Republicans vote to choose their delegates at a Jan. 26 state convention -- the most likely scenario.
Anuzis wanted potential state convention delegates to commit to their candidates by Jan. 3 -- before Iowa and New Hampshire. That was unacceptable to Yob; in 1988, Yob was the convention chair in Michigan when Pat Robertson, fresh off of an Iowa victory, found his momentum somewhat diminished by a poor showing among Michigan's Republican elites. So Yob wanted to preserve the ability of delegates to choose candidates much closer to the date of the convention themselves. That'll help his candidate -- Sen. John McCain -- if McCain does well in Iowa or New Hampshire and carries momentum heading into late January.
Next, on Aug. 25, the state committee will vote to approve the rules package and they'll finally decide what their fall-back option will be if the state legislature and the government fail to move the primary to Feb. 5 or Jan. 29.
Seven Michigan congresspersons want an open primary on Jan. 26 -- they represent a cross-section of candidates. Most of the state committee wants to hold a convention, which is a much more restrictive process -- one that would, not coincidentally, empower certain factions on the state committee.
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