State Sen. Stacey Campfield, who resigned as co-chairman of Newt Gingrich’s Tennessee campaign last week, was nonetheless elected a Gingrich delegate in voting Tuesday.
On the other hand, state Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, who remained alone as head of the Gingrich Tennessee campaign after Campfield’s resignation, failed to win a delegate seat in the voting based on unofficial returns.
Twenty-eight “at large” delegates are allocated on the basis of Tuesday’s vote statewide and Adam Nickas, executive director of the state Republican Party, said the unofficial results will translate into 12 statewide delegates for Rick Santorum, nine for Mitt Romney and seven for Gingrich.
Campfield and Shipley were among 10 persons on the ballot as committed statewide delegates for Gingrich in Tuesday’s voting, having qualified earlier this year. Under tentative state GOP plans, just the top four will get elected Gingrich delegate spots with the other three will be appointed by the Republican State Executive Committee in consultation with the Gingrich campaign, Nickas said.
Campfield finished second in the statewide delegate voting with 121,508 votes, just behind Sullivan County Commissioner John Gardner, also a Gingrich delegate. Shipley finished eighth with 111,909, meaning he does not win a seat.
As things stand now, Nickas said Campfield is considered elected as a committed Gingrich delegate, bound to vote for the former House speaker on the first two ballots at the Republican National Convention. From party rules, it appears the Gingrich campaign would have to release him as a delegate for him to step down, Nickas said, and if Gingrich did so, he would lose a Tennessee delegate.
“That’s weird,” said Campfield, adding that things could change if Gingrich gets out of the race.
“I’m just going to have to talk with the two campaigns and see what’s the best for everybody,” the senator said. “We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Shipley said the difference in vote totals was likely due to alphabetical order of the candidates on the ballot.
Shipley could still be named to one of the delegate slots chosen by the executive committee, probably at a June 16 meeting. The legislator said he would still like to go to the convention, but will not exert any effort in seeking a slot because he is very busy with legislative duties and other work.
Under current party plans, Nickas said five of Romney’s nine delegates will be chosen on the basis of statewide voting for Romney delegates and four will be appointed by the executive committee. Former Gov. Winfield Dunn led in statewide voting for Romney delegates and is thus assured of one of the four seats.
Santorum had no committed delegates on Tuesday’s ballot. For the 12 statewide “at large delegates” he won, his campaign will now pick six persons to become delegates and six more will be chosen by the executive committee, subject to the campaign’s approval of its choices.
Another 27 delegates are allocated on the basis of the vote in the state’s nine congressional districts. That allocation is still being calculated, Nickas said, because election returns available Wednesday had been reported by county; not by congressional district. Some counties are split by congressional district lines. A calculation will likely be available by late today, he said.