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Local legislator will have a hand in choosing GOP nominee

Ford

N.C. Rep. Carl Ford

N.C. Rep. Carl Ford

In July, Rep. Carl Ford will be packing his bags and heading to Cleveland, Ohio.

Ford is the two-term representative for the 76th State House District. He lives in China Grove and owns two local radio stations. Before becoming a state legislator, Ford served on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

Now he’s got another elected position to add to his resume— a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He was elected as a delegate during the 8th District GOP Convention on Saturday. He’ll serve as a delegate who’s bound to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

It’s a new experience for Ford. He’s repeatedly been to county and congressional district conventions, but never to the national convention.

“I guess I am a little excited, but it’s going to be an awful big decision to make,” Ford said. “I’ve known about the process, but this will be the first year I’ve been involved in it.”

Delegates are elected in party meetings at the congressional district level. To avoid confusion, the Republican Party decided to use the state’s congressional map that was used for the 2014 election, which was declared unconstitutional by federal judges.

As a delegate for the 8th Congressional District, Ford will be one of 72 North Carolina Republicans who will directly choose the party’s presidential candidate. More than 2,400 delegates will attend the 2016 Republican National convention. Presidential candidates must secure a majority of delegates — 1,237 — in order to become the party’s nominee. The nominee will then advance to November’s general election.

Based on North Carolina’s primary elections in March, Ford and other delegates from the state will be required to vote for a specific candidate on the first ballot. After that, it’s possible for a delegate to switch his or her vote.

During district conventions, Republicans elected three delegates and three alternates — a total of 39 delegates and 39 alternates across the state, said a news release from the NC Republican Party. The state party then picks 30 more delegates at its state convention. Once the N.C. GOP chairman, national committeewoman and national committeeman are added, the state will have its 72 delegates.

Salisbury resident Dr. Ada Fisher currently serves as the party’s national committeewoman. So far, she’s the only other Rowan resident who will serve as a delegate in Cleveland. Others could be chosen during the 5th District GOP Convention on April 16 and 12th District GOP Convention on April 27.

Ford will be one of 27 delegates who are bound to Cruz. A total of 29 will be bound to businessman Donald Trump, nine bound to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, six bound to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and one to surgeon Ben Carson.

In addition to being a delegate for Cruz, Ford is also one of his supporters. Ford sat in the front row when Cruz held a March rally in Kannapolis. Ford said he likes Cruz because “he’s been anti-establishment and anti-Washington and fought against Obamacare.”

“I’m not saying he’s perfect, but he’s the one that lines up closest to what I believe,” Ford said.

Before he became a delegate, he received a call from the Cruz presidential campaign. The campaign representative asked if Ford would be interested in serving as a delegate.

When asked, Ford said people who would be interested in being a delegate to national conventions should start by getting involved at the county level. He said congressional district delegates are first required to attend the county conventions.

“That’s how I started,” Ford said. “You try to go to at least a few meetings per year and get involved. That’s where it all starts, and you work your way up from there.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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