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The following is an excerpt from a Jan. 14 email by the Montana Republican Party's chairman Jeff Essmann.

The Permanent Rules Committee, ably chaired by Park County Chair Debra Lamm, met on Tuesday January 10, 2017 to review the bylaws pertaining to the candidate nomination process. I have attached the report of the Rules Committee chair which outlines the two proposed changes to the bylaws that the Rules Committee will be bringing to the State Central Committee for adoption at its next meeting.

The first proposed change will require that a candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote to get the nomination and sets forth a procedure to be followed to get to a majority vote. The second is a change of punctuation to clarify the sentence dealing with scheduling.

As you know, I polled the committee on the issue of whether you wished to call a special meeting of the State Central Committee using video conferencing technology in order to have a meeting focused only on the proposed bylaws changes. The vote on that issue was 47 in favor and 68 against. So the proposed Bylaw changes will be brought to the State Central Committee at the Nomination Meeting and will need a two thirds vote of those present to be adopted.

Why is this important? Under plurality rules, the moderate Republican strategy is to win the nomination while two or three conservatives split the conservatives delegates. So the conservative Republicans either need to reduce their candidate field to one ahead of the vote, or change the rules.

Debra Lamm

Debra Lamm is the chair of the Montana Republican Party's Permanent Rule Committee.

Essmann also detailed what it would take to get into the race.

The Executive Board met and discussed a number of proposals that had been received in response to a request that I issued to the Board for a set of procedures to be followed by candidates wishing to put themselves forward for consideration for nomination as our candidate for Congress. After review and discussion, the board adopted a policy requiring interested parties to pay a $1740 filing fee and present the signatures of at least 10 members of the state committee representing at least 5 counties. Both these steps must be completed 72 hours before the commencement of the Special Nomination Meeting.

 An application form that includes the procedures adopted by the Executive Board is attached. After the deadline has passed I will be appointing a committee to verify that the candidates meet the constitutional and statutory requirements to be elected to the position. That Committee will be chaired by Attorney General Tim Fox.

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Troy Carter can be reached at 582-2630 or He's on Twitter at @cartertroy.


Troy Carter covers politics and county government for the Chronicle.

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