Betsy Woodruff at National Review last week revisited how Ron Paul people are continuing to shape the Republican Party, focused on Nevada.
The article is largely based on the perspective of one Nevada activist, former party state vice chair James Smack, but worth a read. After summing up how Party apparatchiks pissed off Paul people by prematurely shutting down the state convention in 2008, here's the nub:
what [Smack] describes as “a conservative alliance” came together. It was about 30 people, most of whom had been 2008 state-convention delegates. They didn’t all love Ron Paul, but they all wanted more conservative candidates at the state and national levels. Some came and went; some entered the group only after its initial establishment. If one member found a project to work on, he or she would call a meeting to rally the others.
It was like a conservative steering committee, adds Smack. People pushed for the passage of resolutions and the election of state party officers. After a couple of years, members of the group had spread throughout party leadership in the state. The Nevada Republican central committee started to skew conservative. Smack himself rose to vice chairman of the state party and national committeeman. Jim Wheeler, another member, won a spot as a state assemblyman, and members of the group have grabbed county chairmanships and the chairmanship of the state budget committee. Diana Orrock, a Ron Paul supporter, became the national committeewoman. And at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting last month, she introduced the anti-NSA resolution that made national headlines as a significant change for the GOP.
The state central committee and the Nevada party are leaning much more libertarian these days, she tells NRO. But she doesn’t feel that’s the case for the party’s national officials. So there’s an appetite for the kinds of primary challenges that make national party leaders cringe.
And there’s not a lot of love among the new Nevada Republican leadership for some of the GOP’s brightest stars.
The Nevada GOP will welcome “any and all presidential candidates,” Smack says. But it will lean toward folks such as Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and Congressman Justin Amash. “It’ll be a little bit cooler reception for, say, Governor Chris Christie or somebody of that nature.”
For the beginnings of this zany saga, see my book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.