The presidential hopes, and long-term legacy within the Republican Party, of conservative-libertarian Ron Paul scored a major victory last Saturday, after backers of the Texas congressman were elected as party chairman and co-chairman at the Alaska state convention last week.
Russ Millette was elected the party’s chairman, beating out a candidate backed by outgoing chair Randy Ruedrich. The establishment Republican, who has run the Alaska GOP since 2000, decided to not run again. Debra Holle Brown, another Paul supporter, was voted in as co-chair.
According to the Alaska Dispatch, Millette began his political career in 1964, when he volunteered for the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. His libertarian side can be seen in his opposition to a federal law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Local Alaska newspaper Homer News reports Brown is a small business owner who wants “to have conversations with people, not just sound bites,” and focus on energy independence.
But Paul supporters stopped short of changing Alaska’s rules to award him the state’s 24 delegates, reports the Miami Herald. He will have six going into the Republican National Convention, slated for August.
Before the election, state Republicans moved US$100,000 set aside for candidates to another group, out of “concerns” Millette would stop funding their campaigns. Millette will become Alaska GOP chair at the start of 2013. Until then, he will serve as the party’s finance chairman.
Reudrich says the strategy being played out by Ron Paul supporters could win the nomination at the national convention. “Under national Republican Party rules, if a presidential candidate can secure the support of delegates from five states at the national convention, they can attempt to win the nomination even if they haven’t won a single state primary or poll, Ruedrich said. That would give Paul, who at best has made it to second or third place in state primaries, at least a theoretical shot at winning the nomination.” reports the Herald.
According to a delegate count from the Associated Press, Romney currently has 847 and Paul 80.