On February 3, 2007 The Wyoming Republican State Central Committee approved a resolution to hold the party's 2008 county conventions on "the same date as the New Hampshire Republican Primary, whenever that may be."  About half the delegates to the Republican National Convention will be selected at those conventions and the other half at the state convention.  Thomas Sansonetti, a former chairman of the state party, advocated the idea [see text of his letter below].
Thomas L. Sansonetti
7339 Prairie Hills Circle
Cheyenne, WY 82009
Phone (307) 778-4250

February 3, 2007


Dear Fellow Republicans:

            I am writing to encourage your consideration of approving a motion establishing our state party's presidential delegate selection process next year on "the same date as the New Hampshire Republican Primary, whenever that may be."

            As you know, it will be at each county convention that either a delegate or alternate will be selected to attend the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul, MN on September 1-4, 2008.  In 2000 the Wyoming GOP county conventions were held on March 10 after George W. Bush had already wrapped up the party's presidential nomination.  In 2004 there was no meaningful primary process since the re-nomination of then-President Bush was assured.


1. Wyoming's twelve Delegates and twelve Alternates to the National Convention offer the presidential candidates an alternative to doing well in the "make or break" atmosphere of New Hampshire.

[NOTE: New Hampshire has but 20 delegates to the National Convention.  In a multi-candidate field with delegates being delved out in proportion to their percentage of vote, a candidate could conceivably do just as well or better in Wyoming than New Hampshire.  Thus, candidates doing well in Wyoming could sustain their candidacies to fight on into the next round of primaries.]

2. Wyoming's GOP is a good barometer of future electoral success.

[NOTE: No Republican presidential candidate has won office without Wyoming casting its electoral votes for him since World War II. There are a number of Republican presidents who won election without obtaining New Hampshire's votes, including George W. Bush in 2004.]

3. While both states have roughly the same number of convention delegates, Wyoming is more "Republican" than New Hampshire which, as a newly minted "blue state," has always had a contrarian bent.

[NOTE: New Hampshire GOP voters supported Perot over Bush 41 in '92, Buchanan over Dole in '96, and McCain over Bush 43 in '00.  Wyoming is a mainstream GOP state in a section of the country, the Rocky Mountain West, that the GOP presidential candidate must have in order to win nationwide, as opposed to the New England states.  Yet, none of the western states currently holds an early primary and thus must accept presidential candidates nominated from other less Republican areas of the country.  The Democratic National Committee, by choosing Denver for its national convention in August 2008, has signaled its intention to compete in red states (see enclosure). The general political attitude of voters in New Hampshire is at present nonconducive to a conservative philosophy, and therefore, the state is a poor barometer of national Republican sentiment (See Broder article enclosed.)  Why then should New Hampshire be permitted to thin out the GOP presidential field by itself?]

4. Because under the Wyoming delegate selection system all 23 counties participate in choosing either a delegate or alternate, GOP presidential campaigns could pay unprecedented attention to Wyoming party members statewide, should they choose to do so.

[NOTE: This would be even more likely if county parties coordinated events next summer or autumn designed to attract the candidates to meet precinct committeepersons like picnics or five "Come Meet The Voters" dinners placed in all four corners of the state plus Casper.]

5. The state party could make some money if it sold lists of addresses and phone numbers of county precinct committeepersons to each presidential campaign.

[NOTE: While this information might be obtained for free from individual county clerks, many campaigns will prefer one stop shopping by buying their information from state party headquarters.]

6. An early Wyoming delegate selection process could lead to grassroots party building due to the increased importance of being a precinct committeeperson.

[NOTE: Vacancies in precinct committeepersons would likely be filled.  Party mailing and phone lists would be updated.  Earned media in county papers would be easier to come by.  Some national news stories could also be expected.]


1. As the nation's smallest state with less than two dozen delegates to the national convention, Wyoming should not try to assert its modest influence on the party's presidential nominating process.  Instead, the early caucus and primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina should do the job of paring down the presidential candidate field.

[NOTE: 15 states including many of the largest are holding primaries between February 5-1 5.  Thus, if Wyoming wants to play, it needs to go early.] (See enclosed NY times article.)

2. If the Wyoming County Conventions are held before February 5, 2008, Wyoming's full delegation may not be seated at the St. Paul Convention due to a violation of a National Party Rule:

            RNC Rule 15: No presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting may be held for the purpose of voting for a presidential candidate and/or selecting delegates or alternate delegates to the national convention, prior to the first Tuesday of February in the year in which the national convention is held.

            RNC Rule 16: If a state or state party violates the Rules of the Republican Party relating to the timing of the selection process resulting in the election of delegates or alternate delegates to the national convention after the call to the national convention is issued, then the number of delegates to the national convention from that state shall be reduced by ninety percent (90%), and the corresponding alternate delegates shall also be reduced.

[NOTE: This rule has never been enforced by the Republican National Committee. e.g. New Hampshire's GOP held its 2004 primary in January, yet the full twenty delegates were seated.]

[NOTE: The GOP nomination for president will likely have been decided by the September, 2008 convention date, thus making Wyoming's delegate votes superfluous at that point.]

3. Because Wyoming's January weather could be severe, attendance at the County Conventions could be low.

[NOTE: Wyoming's February and March weather could be severe as well.  New Hampshire's January weather is not warm either.  Are New Hampshire's primary voters more hearty than Wyoming's precinct committeemen and committeewomen?]

4. Even if the Wyoming GOP has its County Conventions on the same date as New Hampshire's GOP primary, there is no guarantee that any Republican presidential candidates will personally campaign in the state or contact registered Republican voters by phone or by mail.

[NOTE: How is that different from the status quo?  Republican presidential candidates have historically visited Wyoming only after securing the nomination. Because our voters at County Conventions are easily identifiable by virtue of their membership on the County Central Committee, it is far more likely that the various campaigns will take a run at contacting voters by phone or mail.  There may even be some personal candidate appearances at future 2007 State Central Committee events.]

5. Holding the County Conventions in January will cost the state party more money because candidates will be demanding lists of Republican registered voters in the individual counties along with their mailing addresses and phone numbers.

[NOTE: If the campaigns are too lazy to obtain the lists from each of the twenty-three county clerks for free, then let's have State Party headquarters sell a complete set of the twenty-three counties' lists to each campaign for $3,000 apiece.  The actual cost of putting on the individual County Conventions should not change.]

6. By moving up the date of the County Conventions, the State Party is setting a bad precedent for the future.

[NOTE: If the 2008 experiment is deemed unsuccessful, future State Central Committees can move the date elsewhere.]

Of course, additional attention would be brought to our state if the Wyoming Democrat Party could be persuaded to move its county conventions to the same day as New Hampshire's primary as well.  If the State Central Committee approves the date change, I recommend that we reach out to the Wyoming Democrats to do the same.  I appreciate your willingness to consider my idea.  I stand ready to answer any questions or hear any comments you may have.  Please contact me at work: 778-4250, home: #omitted or email tlsansonetti@hollandhart.com.

I also am willing to come to your county to further explain my idea at a meeting or Lincoln Day Dinner.

Tom Sansonetti

36603 89-3. DOC