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Hall County sending delegates to Republican, Democratic conventions
Possibility of undecided Republican nomination puts delegate selection in spotlight
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Several Hall County residents have been selected as 9th District congressional delegates for the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions this summer.  

On the Republican side, Hall residents Ashley Bell and Carol Mahoney will join Madison County resident Bruce Acevedo at the national convention in Cleveland from July 18-21.

“I’m extremely humbled to have been elected with 80 percent of the vote to represent Hall County and the 9th District in Cleveland,” said Bell, a former Hall County commissioner, and a founder and partner of the Bell & Washington, LLC, family law practice in Gainesville. “I’m looking forward to representing the voters of the 9th District and ensuring that we leave Cleveland unified and ready to take back the White House.”

Two of the delegates will be bound to Donald Trump, who won the Georgia primary in March, on the first ballot, while one will go for Marco Rubio, who has since dropped out of the race, according to Hall County Republican Party Chairwoman Debra Pilgrim.

Quirks in both state law and convention rules, however, could potentially free Rubio delegates to vote for another candidate from the very beginning.

Georgia’s Republican Party rules typically bind delegates to the primary results during the first round of voting at the convention, giving Trump 42 delegates, Ted Cruz 18 and Rubio 16.

But the state party only binds delegates to support Trump for one ballot at this summer’s GOP national convention.

That means any delegate may shift his or her support to any other GOP contender who might emerge if Trump can’t lock up the nomination before a second round of voting.

After that, though, any delegate can change his or her vote.

It’s rare for the party’s presidential nominee to remain mathematically undecided as the national convention begins.

The last time it happened was 1976, when Gerald Ford lacked a majority heading into the convention. He ultimately won the nomination on the first vote over Ronald Reagan.

Trump hasn’t reached the threshold of 1,237 delegates required to lock up the nomination. His recent loss in Wisconsin narrowed the odds that the front-runner can do so before the July convention, increasing the stakes of delegate selection.

On the Democratic side, Gainesville residents Melissa Clink and Wilson Golden will join Virginia Webb and Rick Day, of Clarkesville and Ellijay, respectively, at the national convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28.

“The momentum of Bernie Sanders’ campaign and his plans on criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wage and comprehensive immigration reform policies are three major reasons I chose to run for a delegate position,” Clink said. “I plan to bring my experience back to the 9th District and continue working towards taking Georgia in a more progressive direction.”

Clink and Day will be delegates for Sanders, while Golden and Webb will support Hillary Clinton.  

Clinton won Georgia’s Democratic primary, taking 73 delegates to Sanders’ 29.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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