Las Vegas Sun

December 6, 2016

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jon ralston:

Will the past be prologue at state GOP convention?

I do so hate to see party conventions not go smoothly.

So as the state Republican Convention looms a week hence, I wonder if it’s possible for a repeat of the 2008 chaos, when state Chairman Sue Lowden and convention boss Bob Beers brought down the house because the Ron Paul folks were about to lock up national delegate slots.

‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished by some — although certainly not by me.

The Paul folks are more organized than four years ago, although the good doctor’s poor showing in the caucus (third place, 19 percent) after all the hype was somewhat surprising. But they have taken over the state party’s executive board and elected a sizable number of delegates to the Sparks confab. And now this, from state Paul Campaign Director Carl Bunce to his folks about Mitt Romney canvassing calls to delegates:

“I fear they will continue to call you until you finally submit some type of answer to them. I suggest that you say you support Mitt Romney on Question 1 and that you are attending the State Convention on Question 2. These answers will give them a false sense of strength in the process moving forward.”

And you thought the presidential race was over. Not in Nevada. Not among the Paulites. (The full text of Bunce’s missive was posted here by Ned Barnett)

As much as I would hate to see it, the Paul folks are intent on trying to do in 2012 what they almost did in 2008 — hijack the national convention delegation. Even though Republican National Committee rules mandate that the Nevada delegation votes proportionally to the caucus results — Romney received 14 delegates to Paul’s five — do the rules really apply to the Texas congressman’s acolytes?

It would seem any victory would be Pyrrhic, perhaps emphasizing Paul’s image in Establishment circles as the crazy uncle of the GOP. But the presumptive nominee also doesn’t want to alienate the legions of Paul sycophants.

Team Romney has sent a missive to every delegate to the state convention, trying to build the votes necessary to blunt the Paul surge. “It’s clear that now is the time to unite as Republicans to defeat Barack Obama in the fall! Attending the State Convention is a very important way for you to support the Republican Party’s efforts to turn Nevada red. We need your voice and your support at the convention,” Romney State Director Sarah Nelson wrote.

My guess is most of the Paul delegates immediately deleted the email. But, perhaps I am too cynical. Or conspiratorial.

Truly, I would hate to see chaos ensue at this hallowed event.

And I’m sure that won’t happen just because new GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, who will oversee the May 5 convention, is essentially an honorary Ron Paul person. His close allies — David Isbell and Jesse Law — are Paul guys. Bunce signed onto an endorsement list for McDonald. And Paulite James Smack, McDonald’s predecessor, endorsed McDonald. Oh, and the Romney campaign stayed out of the chairman’s election.

None of that can be good for Team Romney. But, I, of course, would hate to see any sparks in Sparks.

• Sanctioning legal thuggery: Kudos to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Nevada Press Association for petitioning the state Supreme Court to file amicus briefs in the assault on decency being perpetrated by lawyers for hard-money lender Jeff Guinn, who is being sued by upset investors and tracked by the FBI. Guinn’s attorney, John Bailey, has asked the Supremes to allow him to force Dana Gentry, my “Face to Face” producer and a painfully honest person and journalist, to answer when she started being corrupted in covering the Guinn story. In doing so, using the protections of legal documents, Bailey has fabricated a pretext to question Gentry, who could easily refute all of the wispy allegations he cannot prove (because they are false). But Gentry will not allow such revolting tactics to be used against others — and the RJ and the NPA get the potential precedent that could be set if the justices don’t block Bailey from using his heinous tactics.

The issues raised, including protections embedded in Nevada’s shield law and First Amendment tenets, “raise important legal issues that implicate the public interest,” attorney Maggie McLetchie wrote in asking the court to allow the amicus briefs to be filed.

And speaking of sanctions, does anyone out there wonder how lawyers are allowed to charge a fortune for filing frivolous and destructive motions that echo Joe McCarthy, don’t advance their clients’ interests one iota and would be defamatory in any other setting except inside a courtroom?

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