Minnesota Republican Chairman admits party ‘forgot’ step to ensure Trump will be on ballot — legal challenge now expected

Picture source: Christopher Gregory, Getty Images

A top Republican elected official from Minnesota told me on Saturday that the Republican Party of Minnesota should prepare for lawsuit to determine if Minnesota Republicans followed the law to get Donald Trump’s name on the ballot in Minnesota.

“It was bungled and botched. Their fix won’t work,” said the Republican elected official, who requested anonymity, as they have publicly endorsed Trump’s candidacy.

The comments come after the Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey told the press last Thursday that the Republican Party of Minnesota “forgot to elect alternate electors” at the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Convention in May:

State GOP Chairman Keith Downey told reporters at the State Fair that the party forgot to elect alternate electors, those people who actually pick a president in the country’s Electoral College process.

According to media reports of Downey press conference on Thursday, Downey said the “Republican State Central Committee” voted on Wednesday evening to correct the problem:

But the party’s constitution allows the Republican State Central Committee to do that, he said, and everything is good since the committee voted on the issue Wednesday night.

If Downey was quoted correctly and he said the “Republican State Central Committee” had a meeting last Wednesday evening, then there is a problem.

Republican Party of Minnesota State Central Committee Didn’t Meet

The “Republican State Central Committee” is the comprised of over 300 delegates from across Minnesota and there is usually only two meetings of the committee per year.

The Bylaws of the Republican Party of Minnesota all requires at least a ten day written notice to be mailed in advance of any meeting of the State Central Committee.

If Downey said the “Republican State Central Committee” had a meeting on Wednesday evening, then he was mistaken and again — they have a problem.

Republican Party of Minnesota State Executive Committee Did Meet

Downey may have been misquoted or he misspoke, but we do know the Republican Party of Minnesota State Executive Committee did meet on Wednesday evening.

The Constitution of the Republican Party of Minnesota establishes the 15 person membership of the State Executive Committee:

1. The state chair, deputy chair, secretary and treasurer;
2. The national committeeman and committeewoman;
3. One district chair from each Congressional District or a Congressional District representative as provided for in the Congressional District constitution or bylaws who shall serve until a successor is elected;
4. The state finance chair.

The State Executive Committee has no authority in the Constitution of the Republican Party of Minnesota to appoint, nominate, or elect presidential electors or alternates.

One former member of the Republican Party of Minnesota State Executive Committee, Dave Thul, sent out tweet last week questioning the authority of the committee to appoint, nominate, or elect presidential electors or alternates:

The biggest problem for Republicans in Minnesota is that the process for selecting presidential electors is established in law and they did not follow it for selecting the Republican presidential electors and alternates:

According to Minnesota Statutes 208.03:

Presidential electors and alternates for the major political parties of this state shall be nominated by delegate conventions called and held under the supervision of the respective state central committees of the parties of this state. At least 71 days before the general election day the chair of the major political party shall certify to the secretary of state the names of the persons nominated as presidential electors, the names of persons nominated as alternate presidential electors, and the names of the party candidates for president and vice president. The chair shall also certify that the party candidates for president and vice president have no affidavit on file as a candidate for any office in this state at the ensuing general election.

The remedy to correct Republicans forgetting to elect alternate electors at the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Convention in May, was to call another convention — but they didn’t do it.

Legal Challenge to Trump Name on Ballot Expected

In an interview with FOX 9 last week, David Schultz, who is a professor at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota Law School said a lawsuit will likely be filed.

“It’s going to wind up in the courts if for no other reason than to create mischief for the Republican Party,” Schultz told Fox 9. “I think the Minnesota Supreme Court would probably err on the side of allowing the Republican Party and their electors, on the ballot.”

Since last week, the rumblings of possible legal challenges have only gotten stronger and I would expect legal challenges within the coming days and weeks to determine if Minnesota Republicans followed the law to get Donald Trump’s name on the ballot in Minnesota.