Ron Paul Supporters “Hijack” Delegate Conventions
Supporters of Texas Congressman Ron Paul have succeeded in taking over Republican county conventions in Georgia, Nevada, and Colorado on Saturday, a move decried by GOP regulars as a “hijacking.”
The Paulites, described by the Washington Post as “mostly young, well-educated and well off,” took over the DeKalb County delegate-selection convention in eastern metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. Their strategy of raising unexpected issues and delays to outlast the delegate regulars forced the process into a day-long event that lasted until the early evening hours.
Supporters of Paul almost succeeded in taking over the Cobb County convention as well, but were beaten back by Gingrich business associate and attorney Randy Evans, the delegate-selection convention chairman.
Paul supporters slammed the tactics of Evans as “tyranny, fraud, and bias deeply rooted in the American political system, all the way down to the grassroots level” after he told delegates to back to their seats before the voting took place.
In Nevada on Saturday, Paulites seized control of the Clark County Republican Party’s ruling body, reports the Movahe Daily News. Paul backers won election to all 14 open executive board positions there, which is the most populous county in the state.
At the county GOP convention in Las Vegas, Paul supporters went on to win as many as half of the 1,382 delegates nominated to the state convention, scheduled May 2-4 in Sparks.
At the Denver County GOP Assembly, Ron Paul-pledged delegates tried to take over the meeting by shouting down Denver County GOP Chairman Danny Stroud, Treasurer Alex Hornaday, and Secretary Brett Moore.
According to the State Column, Paul delegates came to the meeting with an alternative set of rules and their own calendar for the day. Strategy e-mails on how to “shanghai” the assembly were circulated before the event, the paper reports.
The Colorado event was not a “hijacking” as those that happened in Georgia and Nevada, though. GOP establishment in Denver tried to get rule changes past without handing out what was being voted on, and verbally insulted Ron Paul supporters. When one Paulite called ‘point of order’ to find out what was being voted on, Party leaders ignored it until hundred called it out, resulting in bedlam.
The delegate selection process for Republican caucuses has several steps. County conventions send delegates to the congressional and then state-level elections, who then decide who goes to the GOP national convention this August in Tampa, Florida.
Delegates are bound on the first ballot to vote in line with the GOP caucus-winning percentages. But they could switch to anther candidate if a contested convention leads to more than one ballot.
In Georgia, Gingrich is guaranteed 36 of the 76 delegates, Romney is allotted several, but the rest are up for grabs.
In Nevada, Romney will get 14 of the 28 delegates, with the remaining spread out among the other candidates proportionately.