Delegations submit predictions ahead of Mock Convention

Mock Con state chairs research GOP candidates, unpredictable field makes it difficult to judge

Kinsey Grant

Washington and Lee’s 26th Mock Convention kicks off next weekend. But the work for state chairs and delegates has been going on for months.

All delegations submitted their predictions last week for the convention, which works to predict the Republican nomination for President. But in an unpredictable field of GOP candidates, state chairs have had trouble picking just one.

“This cycle has just been so unique that everything has been tougher,” North Carolina State Chair William Rhyne, ‘18, said. “Donald Trump has been completely unpredictable.”

After Ted Cruz won the telling Iowa caucus, there are still eight candidates vying for the party’s nomination. Each state had to choose one candidate who they think will win their state. Chairs went about their predictions differently, though.

“The people on my team have mostly been talking to…professors and state senators,” Colorado State Chair Megan Axelrod, ‘16, said.

“I’ve also had a couple phone calls with people high up in the Republican party,” Axelrod said.

Utah State Chair Cara Hayes, ‘17, said she is confident in her original prediction, but upcoming caucuses may mean she’ll have to make changes. Chairs are permitted to make addendums as results continue to roll in.

“I think that right now it’s pretty accurate, but it may have to change based on other state results,” Hayes said.

Rhyne said his state’s prediction might change as well.

“I’m fairly confident in my prediction, but I will say that Iowa did not go exactly like I hoped it would,” Rhyne said. “What happens in New Hampshire will be critical to understanding how the rest of the race will play out.”

The New Hampshire Primary is scheduled for this Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Each state’s decision was led by its state chair, but many have twenty- and thirty-person delegations to help.

“My delegation has been great. They basically all filled out a survey with what they wanted to do,” Axelrod said. “Some of them have been fundraising, some of them have been designing the float, and there are a few people who really wanted to do research.”

Hayes said she and her delegates had to think critically since Utah doesn’t have many polls.

Mock Convention happens only once every four years, but it is an event most of the student body takes part in.

“It’s been a really interesting process,” Rhyne said. “It almost was like an exercise in networking, just making a lot of calls to just try and get in touch with people as high up as you possibly can.”

Two highly important states for both Mock Convention and the GOP race are Iowa and New Hampshire. State Chairs for those states could not be reached for comment.