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The Norfolk-Bristol Republican Caucus This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Before February I had no idea what a caucus was. Then I attended one. I learned that an election doesn't just start with the primaries. It all begins at the little caucuses, which appoint the delegates to the convention which determines, in a large measure, who gets the nomination, and what names are even on the primary ballot.

To my surprise, this Republican caucus was no small event: about 240 people attended. On our way in people wanted us to sign their petitions to be able to run for office,with lots of posters, with banners, etc. and oh - coffee and donuts (which made my dad glad he came).

At the caucus itself, you vote for one of the three candidates slates. The three Republican candidates for governor were Pierce, Weld and Cronin. My dad and mom came to vote for Steve Pierce's delegates or the "Pierce Slate." Each candidate has one slate and each slate consisted of 24 delegate's names. The delegates go to the Republican Convention and vote for whosever slate they're on. The word "slate" is just a term for the 24 delegates. Districts are allotted different numbers of delegates according to their population.

An interesting power play was attempted by the leaders who were pushing for the Weld and Cronin slates. I don't know how they did it, but they must have figured out that they didn't have a chance to win if they ran against Pierce individually. So when the time came for the delegates to be announced, the two leaders from the Weld and Cronin slates presented the combined slate of Weld-Cronin. They instructed all the people who supported either of these candidates to vote for the combined slate. Fourteen delegates were for Weld and 10 for Cronin. I guess they figured they both might have a better chance to win delegates if their slates were combined. But it seems to me their plan backfired. People were mad. Pierce supporters started shouting "Dirty politics" and other comments. Now my dad was really glad he came! Not only were the Pierce supporters mad, but Weld and Cronin supporters who came to vote their slates were mad too. They started to demand that someone give them an explanation of just what was going on. It was a mess. The moderator did a good job, but almost lost control of the meeting several times.

In the end, Pierce won, despite Weld and Cronin's combined votes. I'm glad I went, I learned a lot about the Republican Party and a little about politics as well. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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