It’s pretty expensive to represent a state as a delegate to either political party’s national convention.
The GOP primary in Pennsylvania has helped to highlight that fact. In the Keystone State, which holds its vote on Tuesday, 54 “unbound” delegates will be elected to vote freely on the first ballot of the party’s big July convention in Cleveland.
Those delegates, who are elected three-per the state’s 18 congressional districts, only needed 250 signatures to earn a place on the ballot.
More than 160 did so. It has created what Rob Gleason, Pennsylvania’s GOP chairman and a nine-time convention veteran, told Business Insider is the deepest ballot he’s ever seen.
But it’s not as easy as turning over the signatures and winning an election.
Business Insider spoke with 65 of the 164 delegates running across the state. A number of them mentioned the exorbitant costs a delegate must pay out of pocket, calling it extreme.
“I can understand that,” Gleason said of their concern.
It starts with getting their name out to voters. The ballot in Pennsylvania will appear with just a list of names. It does not include notice of whether a candidate for delegate supports one of the three remaining GOP presidential hopefuls, will vote along with the congressional district or state, or is uncommitted.
“One of the most difficult things in running in a congressional district is communicating to all of them for a job that only lasts three months and is not paid for and you have to use your own money to participate,” Gleason said.
He said the best way to get your platform out to the voters is via a mailing across the district.
That can cost “upwards of $15,000,” he added, noting that some candidates running on the same platform will join together and split the cost.
Once elected, a candidate will have to pay for their own travel to Cleveland and for their hotel room.
A letter sent from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to delegates, provided to Business Insider by one of the delegate candidates on the ballot, outlined the high costs.
Delegates will have to spend more than $1,250 on hotel accommodations, according to estimates from the letter ($250 per night for at least five nights).
They will also have to either transport themselves to Cleveland or use transportation provided by the state party. However, the latter option is only available for “dues paying members of the Pennsylvania Delegation,” the letter read.
Those dues total $500 per person that the party said is required to “participate in Pennsylvania Delegation activities.”
As one candidate for delegate put it, the total costs discourage “less-wealthy delegate candidates from actively campaigning.”