So… Who Won the Louisiana GOP Caucus?
I just spoke to Andrew Axom, the field director for Ron Paul 2008 in Louisiana, to figure out how they did in yesterday's caucuses. The answer? "Honestly, we do not know yet."
Here is how National Review's detail-driven political reporter David Freddoso explained it:
Last night, something like 20,000 Republicans in Louisiana picked the delegates to their state convention, who will select half of the state's delegates to the national convention (or, as Jim correctly points out, they may select nearly all of them).
The official results are not in yet, but I'm told that McCain beat all of the other candidates. The conservative "uncommitted" effort — designed to influence the party platform — might have come out ahead of everyone…
Ron Paul finished second. His supporters reportedly mobbed the 11 polling places, but many of them could not participate because they were not registered Republicans. They were required to cast provisional ballots, many of which will not count. (The provisional ballots are part of the reason for the delay in tallying the results.)
Axom confirmed all of this and explained that the "Uncommitted" slate was called the "Pro-Life, Pro-Family" slate. Until yesterday there was a good organization for Fred Thompson. When Fred moseyed off the stage, his canny organizers backed the PLPF slate and handed out ballots like the one pictured above, encouraging people to "win one for the Gipper" by voting for now-homeless delegates. "It was a very slick move on their part," Axom said.
A sizable of number of Paul voters were not registered Republicans until recently (some may not have re-registered at all), so they didn't show up on the rolls and had to cast provisional ballots. In all but two districts (where there aren't enough provisional ballots to affect the outcome) the party is counting them to see if they 1)were cast by registered Republicans and 2)add up to a win.
Final results, when they're available, will be at the LA GOP's website. We're looking at a majority of Republicans in one of the strongest GOP states (post-Katrina) who voted for either Ron Paul or a man who died in 2004.