Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TN GOP 1, TN Dems 3 in Hispanic delegate count at national party conventions

Delegate Lilliana de O'Neal from the U.S. Virgin Islands adorns all of the medals from past conventions she has attended. Photo by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour. Licensed via Creative Commons.
By Miah Castillo

Every four years our country’s political parties hold a nominating convention to officially select the party’s nominee for President of the U.S.  The 46th Democratic National Convention will be held September 3-6 in Charlotte, NC.  The Republican National Convention 2012 is taking place in Tampa, FL this week.

Attending one of these conventions is a big deal.  It’s a political junkie’s Super Bowl.  The process for becoming a delegate to the convention varies from state to state and potential delegates go through a long process to get there.

The Tennessee GOP delegate selection process requires a filed petition with 100 signatures from eligible voters.  The petition must include a statement of commitment to a presidential candidate and that presidential campaign must consent to that person’s candidacy.  All that work just gets you on the ballot.  I found one Hispanic name on the GOP ballot, Raul Lopez of Hermitage.  Super Tuesday’s election results revealed 4,241 votes for Lopez who committed to Rick Perry as his presidential candidate.

The Tennessean recently reported that TN’s GOP delegation is two-thirds male and overwhelmingly white, though it will include at least one African-American.

Miah Castillo
Democrats interested in going to NC had to submit a couple of forms and vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary Election.  The vote for delegates and alternates took place at the County Conventions and the Congressional Conventions in March.

Democrats had more success in achieving Hispanic representation.  Nataly Morales and Vilma Cueva were elected as at large delegates.  Ivan Cerda was elected as a delegate of the 5th congressional district. 2 additional Latinos registered for a spot but did not get elected.

The TNDP State Executive Committee said it exceeded its diversity goals for the Delegation by including fair representation for men, women, African Americans, Latinos, those with disabilities, and GLBT Tennesseans. The Delegation’s makeup is roughly similar to the Democratic voting population in Tennessee.

As the importance of the Latino vote continues to rise in the United States, it is imperative that the voice and the values of the Hispanic community are represented every step of the way.  Congratulations to the delegates and the hopefuls on both sides for going through the process of becoming a delegate.  We need more folks like you.

Miah Castillo is the President of the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats and a guest contributor to HispanicNashville.com

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