UPDATE 2011: Hawaii GOP sets March 13 for GOP Presidential Caucuses
by Andrew Walden
Seeking to tap into the energy and excitement of the Presidential campaign season, the Hawaii Republican State Convention May 16 voted overwhelmingly to hold statewide caucuses to select Hawaii’s Republican Presidential nominee starting in 2012.
The caucuses replace Hawaii Republicans' former convention-based system of voting for Presidential-year RNC delegates. Backers of the caucus system pointed to the opportunity to recruit thousands of new Republicans as the competing Republican Presidential nominees campaign in Hawaii and encourage their supporters to vote at the caucuses.
The Hawaii Republican caucus will be held on the third Tuesday in February. This falls on February 21 in 2012 and is the same day as Hawaii Democrats’ caucuses and the Wisconsin primaries. On the current calendar for 2012, Hawaii caucuses will fall two weeks behind Super Tuesday and one week behind the “Potomac Primary” in Maryland and Virginia.
As enacted the caucus will be winner take all and will offer instant party membership and voting rights to any registered voter. While approving the caucus proposal, the Convention directed the Party Rules Committee to give further consideration to these two issues and report back in 2010.
The caucus system originated with a unanimous vote on a proposal by then-Hawaii County Republican Chair Dylan Nonaka at the Hawaii County Republican convention in March.
A second proposal backed unanimously by the Hawaii County Republican Convention—to establish a modified-closed Primary system for the election of non-Presidential Republican candidates--was not forwarded to the State Convention by the Hawaii GOP Rules Committee. Its' backers are continuing to work for approval at a future convention.
Hawaii Republicans challenge state's open primary system
Hawaii Democrats debate closed primary (backgrounder)
UPDATE: Hawaii media prepares for State GOP Convention
Hawaii GOP Convention Coverage
2012 Primary/Caucus/Convention Schedule: