Las Vegas Sun

July 6, 2015

Currently: 82° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account


Ron Paul supporters: ‘It’s not over yet’

Nevada Republican Convention stretches into Sunday morning, but passionate followers on both sides keep up the fight


Marilyn Newton / AP Photo

Ron Paul supporters wave campaign signs at the Nevada state GOP convention at John Ascauaga’s Nugget on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Updated Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 1:17 a.m.

Nevada Republican Convention 2012

Presidential hopeful Ron Paul talks to delegates of the Nevada state GOP convention at John Ascauaga's Nugget on Saturday May 5, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The divided Nevada Republican Convention descended into a sheer battle of wills late Saturday as those fighting to keep Ron Paul’s long-shot candidacy alive faced off against those intent on ensuring Mitt Romney wasn’t embarrassed by a lack of support.

Balloting for the national delegates didn’t begin until after 7 p.m., pushing the marathon convention into the early morning hours of Sunday with neither side willing to abandon a process rife with arcane rule fights.

A debate over whether to vote by hand, by two hands, by standing or by voice, for example, took nearly a half-hour to resolve.

But Paul’s supporters, driven by four years of planning and persistence, vowed to outlast the so-called Republican establishment that is trying desperately to close ranks around Romney — the likely nominee who is planning to face President Barack Obama in November.

Their hope: to elect enough Paul supporters to influence the national convention in August despite the fact Paul came in third in the Nevada caucuses.

Romney supporters, on the other hand, were still smarting from four years ago when Paul supporters captured the state convention. Romney’s supporters voiced equal determination to see the convention through despite the maddeningly slow process.

“I’m here specifically to offset the huge Ron Paul organization,” Romney supporter David Dietze said. “They are hard at work. There’s been a lot of delays, and clearly their tactic is to be the last man standing.”

Bob McKinnon and his wife, Bruni McKinnon, also Romney supporters, echoed the sentiment.

“We’re going to be here until it’s over. We’ll be here until they all go home,” Bob McKinnon said.

The standoff likely will have little affect on who becomes the eventual nominee. Under party rules, national delegates are bound to vote — at least in the first round of balloting — for the candidates according to the results of the caucuses.

That means Romney is entitled to 50 percent of the delegates. But if Paul supporters can win enough delegate slots, they could influence the national convention. And in the unlikely event of a brokered convention, they would be free to vote for Paul after the first round of ballots.

Volunteers continued counting ballots until the early morning hours Sunday. A final result wasn’t expected possibly until daybreak.

Earlier in the day, Paul supporters won two key floor votes, indicating their strength in the national delegate selection could be formidable in Nevada.

First, Paul supporters blocked a move by Romney supporters to require 50 percent of the delegates remain in the room to conduct any convention business. Four years ago, the Republican Party used a similar rule to abruptly shut down the proceedings — a move Paul supporters were determined to prevent this go-round.

Perhaps more tellingly, Paul supporters elected two from within their ranks to represent Nevada on the Republican National Committee.

Lyon County Republican James Smack, a long-time Paul supporter, defeated former Gov. Bob List, and Las Vegas Republican Diana Orrock, a Paul supporter, defeated Reno Republicans Heidi Smith and Carole DelCarlo.

“We’re prepared to stay here however long. We’re prepared to fight however long and by the rules,” Paul supporter Allen Adams said.

Many of Paul’s delegates refused to concede the possibility that the Texas congressman has already lost the nominating battle. Instead, they viewed the caucus as simply the first step in a long nomination fight and not the definitive vote for who should be nominee.

Under Republican presidential nominating rules, they’re right.

“It’s not over yet,” said Eugene H. Cushing, a Paul supporter from Reno. “These decisions are made at the national convention by the delegates there.”

Adam Ballner, a Paul supporter from Las Vegas, echoed the point, noting that the Republican primary has been marked by sudden spikes of popularity for a succession of candidates.

“Those (caucuses) were a gauge of where everyone was at that moment in time,” he said. “But this is the process we go through to determine the best candidate, and it doesn’t end until Florida.”

Handing Paul the nomination isn’t their sole motivation.

“Whether he’s elected isn’t the main goal,” Ballner said. “It’s changing the party from the ground up.”

Indeed, Paul voiced the same sentiment in an energetic 15-minute speech to the convention.

“I’ve been elected 12 times as a Republican, but some days I get frustrated with the Republican Party,” Paul said. “Maybe a few of you on occasion have been frustrated with the Republican Party.”

He then called for an end to foreign wars, cutting the budget by $1 trillion and protecting civil liberties.

Several heated skirmishes erupted over the course of the day — a “fake slate” of Paul delegates was circulated, for example.

But, much to the relief of the Romney campaign — which worked to stay out of the spotlight in the delegate fight — a large-scale confrontation was avoided.

The Romney campaign’s hope: to turn attention to Obama.

Early in the morning, Romney’s middle son, Josh Romney, gave a brief speech, stressing Nevada’s importance as a battleground state in the general election.

“This is a very important state for us,” Josh Romney told the crowd, which applauded politely but didn’t erupt into raucous cheers. “We’re campaigning hard here. We’re going to continue to campaign hard here.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 10 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The G O P should be embarrassed by Romney

  2. Its over Ron,...head for home, the Con party has its cult leader,...even if they can't stand him either.

  3. I actually don't care what happens one way or the other. Except I hope they all rip each other's lungs out in their constant and neverending fight to get to the right of each other.

    But I do notice that Mr. Ron Paul's supporters (and even he himself) are taking this serious and have shown up in force.

    On the other side of the coin, Mr. Mitt Romney sends a relative to speak for him? And the main stream Republicans are using deception to deflect?

    Tells me right off the bat that Mr. Romney could care less what Nevada does. And it shows they are not trying to win the delegates, but try to snow others to let go, stating imperially they are entitled to them, and the nerve of them people to claim them when Romney should reap all the rewards, whether deserving or not.

    Not sure if that's the entire case, but the perception is there for all to see.

  4. It is a sad time in history to be a Republican.

    Blessings and Peace,

  5. Why anyone would waste their time voting for a party of Domestic Terrorists is beyond me?

    Of course maybe these two clowns might want to see which extremist agenda their party will swallow first.

    A fools folly is,....The GOP.

  6. If no Ron Paul. My vote will have to go to Obama. Romney doesn't represent the people of the United States. Corporations are not people.

  7. All in all, a great day for Democrats.

  8. I will say that Ron Paul is one politician that has the system down to a science. He raises a few hundred million over the span of his career where gets free vacations and travels abroad for free. Not a bad deal if one really thinks about the political system and how it works, flap their lips to people telling them what they want to hear and they get to travel abroad for free. Not too many people can say they've traveled the world, lived a life of luxury and did it all for free.

  9. It's been so much fun watching these amatuers finally learn how rigged the system is, and has been, for so long - especially inside the Republican Party!

    And BY GOD it's NOT OVER until the last Lemming runs off the cliff - LOL!

    But, you have to hand it to the many Ron Paul Revolutionary types that have stuck it out this long - against all odds - and over 4 years have learned how to work within the system to take back power at the County Partisan level, and not give up! Now,if they realize that being an active citizen takes about 3 to 4 political cycles, over 6 to 8 years, if not a full decade, to affect change - then, they'll be getting somewhere - eventually - LOL!

    Too bad the radical right Libertarians couldn't make peace with their left-wing pot-head fans to increase their numbers - and come up with a much better candidate that can't even win a state-wide race?

    Well, I'll close with this one important question:
    Popcorn or NUTS anyone?

  10. All this chit chat about not voting for Romney - and people (Libertarians?) saying it is either Ron Paul or Obama - is about the most irresponsible bunch of unreasonable comments I have read lately.

    If people don't want Obama in office, the ONLY WAY to get him out is to vote for a GOP candidate. At the moment, it looks like Mitt Ronmey. But even if IT COULD BECOME Ron Paul - if Libertarians don't have the "political sense" (make that, can't add votes) to know when they are beaten, maybe they deserve 4 more years of OBAMA.

    And Ron Paul is at fault for leading his lemmings astray. Ron HAS delegates. He CAN speak about the GOP party platform in Tampa. He CAN "deal" from strength to get his ideas across. And he CAN withhold his delegates until he wants to release them.

    So, Cong. Paul, what is your problem in supporting the probably GOP nominee? Are you NOT RUNNING WITH A GOP LABEL in a GOP Primary? Maybe YOU DO WANT 4 more yers of Obama. Are you a RINO?

    Or are you just so concerned about "your platform" that you have forgotten the OBJECTIVE in running for president is to get Obama OUT of the White House.

    I see the American voters as splintered very badly by all the nasty commentaries against each other that voters - Republican and Democrat - seem to believe. Comments that were made during the GOP Primary by candidates who now, want to "kiss-and-make-up."

    Well folks, the damage is done. And the GOP will suffer for it. Because it wil take massive amounts of MONEY and TIME - NOT FOR ADS AGAINST OBAMA - but to enhance the IMAGE of the GOP and their NOMINEE. And to rectify the damage that the self-interested-at-any-cost GOP Primary candidates brought down on themselves - including, Mitt Romney.

    So much for partyk loyality. SO much for civil politics. The gauntlet has been thrown down. And you will get what your efforts have created. (Obama's re-election.)