Ron Paul's Maine, Nevada, and Iowa Victories (Despite Romney Dirty Tricks)


As Ron Paul's much-vaunted, little-understood "delegate strategy" continues, he wins yet another state (far too late to get media credit or momentum for it), Maine. That is, "wins" as in, the majority of delegates from that state seem set to vote for him at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August. AP with the newsy details:

Ron Paul supporters took control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman to the GOP national convention, party officials said. The results gave the Texas congressman a late state victory.

In votes leading to the close of the two-day Maine convention, Paul supporters were elected to 21 of the 24 delegate spots from Maine to the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla. The 24th delegate's seat goes to party Chairman Charles Webster, who has remained uncommitted throughout the process.   

Making the Paul takeover complete was the election of Paul supporters to a majority of the state committee seats…..Romney won the February straw poll with 39 percent of the vote to Paul's 36 percent. Rick Santorum trailed with 18 percent and Newt Gingrich got 6 percent.

The story says that Romney's people aren't afraid Paul can stymie their victory, but are "mindful not to do or say anything that might anger Paul's loyal supporters." A Maine Paul fan insists she found a secret Romney supporter distributing fake slates of Paul-leaning delegates. The same is reported from Nevada, where Paul also won the most delegates this weekend (though they are bound by party rules to vote for Romney anyway), more details on that below.

*The Des Moines Register sums up the situation going out of Iowa as of now (though it ain't over yet):

The majority of Iowans on the list to go to Tampa for the GOP national convention could be aligned with Ron Paul, a presidential candidate who represents a movement focused on limited government and constitutional principles.

Of the 13 delegates and 13 alternates nominated Saturday for the national convention in Florida, just one has publicly endorsed Mitt Romney for president: Gov. Terry Branstad. And just three others publicly supported Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses but is no longer in the race.

The national delegate slate is far from complete, but if the Paul trend in the Iowa delegation continues, the upshot will be that the Iowa caucuses essentially had three winners: Romney on caucus night, Santorum after the certified vote, and Paul in the delegate count….

The at-large delegates nominated Saturday were Branstad, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Margaret Stoldorf of Red Oak, Michelle Bullock of Ankeny, James Mills of Nora Springs, Steven Anders of Council Bluffs, Roger Leahy of Fairfield, Mark Hansen of Council Bluffs, William Johnson of Dubuque, Lexy Nuzum of Winterset, Andrea Bie of Waterville, David Fischer of Altoona and Drew Ivers of Webster City.

Ten of those 13 have expressed public support for Paul, such as volunteering for his campaign or donating money….

This slate next goes before the state convention in mid-June. It can be amended to replace certain delegates before a final up or down vote.

Six of the eight members of the nominating committee voting on delegates Saturday have public ties to Paul's campaign and his philosophy of limited government. But they insisted that they elected people they believe are politically active and good Republicans and have no idea who the delegates will back in Tampa. Iowa's 28 delegates are "unbound," meaning they aren't required to vote for a nominee based on the results of the caucuses.

*In Nevada, Paul people won 22 of the 25 national delegate slots open at the end of the Nevada GOP state convention in Sparks this weekend. This is despite dirty tricks from the Romney camp–Romney folk pretending to be Paul folk and distributing fake Paul delegates lists. This is discussed at both the Reno Gazette Journal and Daily Paul.

Paul himself appeared at the convention in Nevada.

More from the Las Vegas Sun on the Paul victory, and how it won't be expressed in actual votes for Paul, since the delegates are bound to follow the results of the February caucus vote, in which Romney won a majority:

But while Paul loyalists will make up the majority of the Nevada delegation, Republican rules require the first vote at the national convention to reflect the results of the Feb. 4 caucus, which Romney easily won.

That means 20 of Nevada's national delegates must vote for Romney, while eight will be free to vote for Paul in the first balloting.

While some Paul supporters voiced an intention to challenge the binding requirement, the campaign opted not to further antagonize the Republican National Committee, who has threatened not to seat the delegates if they ignore the caucus results and vote for Paul.

"We are sending a strong delegation to Tampa in August," Paul's Nevada chairman Carl Bunce said. "There are rumors that (the Paul campaign) will actively work to not follow rules and unbind our delegates. That is false; we are not doing that. Congressman Paul is an individual who wants to follow the rules, follow the Constitution and we follow that lead."

Jim DeGraffenried, the secretary of the state party, stressed party officials will not allow the national delegation to deviate from the binding caucus results.

"We will not allow anyone to break that," DeGraffenreid said. "If they do, the will revoke their delegate status and they will be replaced by alternates."…

National Republican officials characterized the Nevada convention as a "Ron Paul super bowl," noting that his supporters spent the last four years working to take over the state party structure. They've captured seats on state and county central committees, elected a state chairman and elected their own to represent Nevada at the Republican National Committee.

Some talk on Ron Paul Forums on why Paul people might have been less inclined to try to change Nevada's own state rules to unbind the delegates and allow them to vote Paul on first ballot.

*The Christian Science Monitor on Paul's Maine and Nevada victories.

*NPR finds the Republican Convention in Nevada this weekend to be as libertarian as the Libertarian Party convention held simultaneously in the state.

*My book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.