Does Montana’s Primary Vote Matter? Insights From a Former Delegate
All eyes were on Iowa this week as the first votes in the nation were cast in the presidential primaries, but as one of the very last states to vote, Montana will have to wait till June 7th to have its say (along with California, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota).
Last primary election cycle, former state Republican Chairman Will Deschamps served as a voting delegate from Montana. He says this year, Montana Republicans will have more primary delegates at the Republican National Committee and some new rules to follow.
"Montana will have 27 votes at the national convention this year, the reason being is that we gained a federal seat in the election of U.S. Senator Steve Daines," Deschamps said. "We changed the state rules in Montana, to where the delegates must be bound to vote for whomever wins the primary in Montana."
Montana’s 27 primary votes look extremely small next to Florida’s 99 and Texas’ 155. Montana also has fewer votes than all of its neighbors (ID 32, WY 29, ND 28, SD 29). Because Montana’s primary is so late in the game, many feel that its votes don’t matter all that much.
In order to win the primary election, a candidate need 1,237 votes, so it would require an extremely close election for Montana's vote total to have much meaning.
Some of the voting delegates in the Republican Party have already been picked by nature of their office, such as the three elected state RNC members. The rest of the voting delegates will be selected in Billings on May 14th at the state republican convention.
All 27 delegates, along with another 27 alternate delegates, will have to pay their own way to Ohio for the Republican National Convention on July 18th. The cost for each delegate to fly out and stay in Ohio is an estimated $3,000.