If House Speaker John Boehner or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wish to vote at this year's convention, they will have to run to become a delegate just like anyone else. By party rule, only the 168 members of the RNC -- a state party chairman and two national committee members in each of the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia -- get automatic votes, accounting for about 7 percent of the total convention votes.
Not all of those votes are up for grabs. Rules vary by state, and RNC members in 11 states -- Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- must vote for the winners of their respective primary or caucus. And representatives from states that held nominating contests before party rules allowed are disqualified from voting, meaning that RNC members from Arizona, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina won't have a voice at this year's convention.The writers reckon that 81 RNC members are neither committed to a candidate nor face a state party rule obliging them to vote a certain way. RNC member Ron Kaufman of Massachusetts is leading the Romney effort to court them.
"Calls are going very well. Members are concerned about electability and uniting the party," said Anuzis, one of Romney's RNC whips. "Most [members] do not see a contested convention as a good thing."