The Republican National Committee threatened Ron Paul supporters in Nevada: appoint delegates as we say, or your delegates may not sit. And they demand that the Nevada Republican Party let Presidential candidates vet all delegates pledged to vote for them.
GOP knows Ron Paul strategy
Ron Paul never made a secret of his “delegate strategy”: concentrate on caucuses and State conventions to get delegates, and ignore the primaries. Clearly, the Republican Party leaders know about it, and it scares them. This morning, Cameron Joseph, writing for The Hill, showed the country what everyone knew who cared to know. Ron Paul supporters have taken over county caucuses and State conventions. (One person familiar with the situation in Minnesota told CNAV today that “long-time Republican activists” resent the Ron Paul newcomers. Many say that the Ron Paul people will not “stick around” after the 2012 campaign, the source said.)
These Ron Paul loyalists, according to Joseph, might not support Mitt Romney or other “down-ticket” candidates if the Convention nominates Romney. Of course they really want to force the convention to nominate Ron Paul. But the “sore-loser” scenario scares the national Republican party worst of all.
Joseph also highlighted the State Republican Party of Nevada. That Party, his sources told him, “is a shambles.” So the Ron Paul camp see it as an easy target.
The Empire Strikes Back
Last night the Republican National Committee sent an astounding letter to Michael McDonald, head of the Nevada Republican Party. (The Las Vegas Sun got a copy; see also this article from The Hill..) John R. Philippe Jr, the general counsel, warned McDonald not to try to “un-bind” the delegates from Mitt Romney or any of the others. Mitt Romney won 50 percent of the primary vote, Newt Gingrich 21 percent, Ron Paul about 19 percent, and Rick Santorum 10 percent. Thus Romney has 14 delegates, Gingrich 6, Paul 5, and Santorum 3. Gingrich and Santorum have each suspended their campaigns, so the RNC seems to believe that Mitt Romney should get 20 delegates, and Paul 5. (The last 3 delegates are superdelegates; they may vote for whom they please.)
Lawyer Philippe also demanded something new: that McDonald let “authorized representatives” of the candidates vet any delegates pledged to vote for them. If not, said Philippe, a candidate could “contest” the selection. Philippe then went further: if the Nevada Republican Party does not do exactly as he says, then Convention officials might refuse to seat any delegates from Nevada.
CNAV reviewed the Rules of the Republican Party. Not one word in them says, or implies, that State conventions may not appoint delegates as they see fit, so long as the delegates know that they must vote for particular candidates on the first ballot. The rules say that State conventions shall appoint, assign, and bind delegates according to State law and their own rules, so long as those rules do not conflict with national rules. A delegate or alternate must be eligible to vote in Republican primaries or take part in Republican caucuses. These rules say nothing about candidates sending “authorized representatives” to vet delegates or alternates.
The RNC knows that Ron Paul’s supporters took over the Massachusetts convention and appointed several delegates pledged to vote for Romney on the first ballot but loyal to Ron Paul on second, third, or later ballots. They want to avoid another Massachusetts in Nevada. The question is: by what authority does “National” tell a State convention that they must let candidates vet State convention picks for delegates or alternates?
Philippe also clearly implied that he expects Mitt Romney to inherit the delegates that Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich would have gotten. But Rick Santorum never endorsed Romney. Newt Gingrich made a long, rambling speech in which he might have endorsed Romney, but even that was not clear.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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