Ron Paul Revolution: GOP Aftermaths in Iowa and Nevada


Two accounts this past week of two ongoing aftermaths of the influx of Ron Paul people into state GOPs.

First, the bad news, from Nevada's Clark County as reported in the Reno Gazette Journal:

Clark County Republicans have ousted a Ron Paul supporter in favor of a more conventional establishment leader.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the approximately 600 voting members of the county GOP elected David McKeon as chairman Wednesday by secret ballot.

McKeon drew 319 votes.

Cindy Lake, a more libertarian politician who took over the position last year, lost with 276 votes.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has more on the contentious background to the battle over the Nevada GOP, and some date indicated that Lake didn't do that bad a job in growing the party:

In 2012, the county GOP was shunned by state and national Republican leaders after Paul supporters took control of the local party and the Texas congressman ran for president. At the Republican National Convention, Paul backers defied the rules and voted for their man instead of Mitt Romney, who was picked to run against President Barack Obama…..

The Republican Party has a big disadvantage in Nevada compared to the Democratic Party.

Registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans in Clark County and statewide.

As of the end of June, 268,053 Republicans were registered as active voters in the county compared to 404,737 Democrats, or 30 percent compared to 46 percent of the electorate.

A year ago, right before the primary election, 231,784 Republicans were registered to vote in the county, or 34 percent of the electorate, compared with 307,673 Democrats, or 44 percent.

Statewide, registered Democrats now hold an advantage over Republicans, 530,752 (42 percent) to 432,824 (34 percent).

And from Iowa, Robert Costa of National Review reports on a supposedly bitter war between Ron Paul compatriots A.J. Spiker and David Fischer running the state GOP and its Republican Gov. Terry Branstad:

Confidants of both groups say the tensions have nearly crippled the party, which is known for hosting the Iowa Republican caucuses. Branstad doesn't trust the co-chairmen, and the co-chairmen don't trust the governor. Behind the scenes, they quarrel constantly over cash and politics, and many veteran Iowa Republicans fear the infighting will embarrass them, especially as presidential contenders start to fly in for appearances…

"If you're a Branstad person, you're donating to Branstad's expected 2014 reelection campaign; you're not donating to the party," explains an Iowa Republican insider. "If you're a Ron Paul supporter or an anti-establishment Republican, you're donating to what should be the establishment, the state party, which is controlled almost entirely by your friends. That's where we stand. The lines are drawn, and they're unlikely to go away."….

Hostility over the emerging 2016 Republican presidential field is another cloud that hangs over the cornfields. "All we hear is that the party has become a conspiracy to help Rand Paul get elected president," says an operative who works with Spiker and Fischer. "It really pisses us off. Some of us may like Rand, but we're not going to ruin the caucuses and our reputations to do that."…..

Branstad says the Spiker-Fischer coalition focuses too much on purifying the ranks rather than building the party's numbers, both in the legislature and at the bank….

"People can say whatever they want, but I'm happy with what we've done with the party," Fischer continues. "We've unapologetically worked with the grassroots to advance our founding principles. That's our job description. I didn't run to be a leader of this party just so I could be a cheerleader for anybody who happens to hang an 'R' behind their name."

A breaking point came earlier this year when the Republican-controlled state legislature was debating a new gas tax. Branstad was open to the tax, and didn't expect the state party's officials to weigh in on policy matters. When Spiker did, sending warning letters to Republican lawmakers, Branstad and his advisers effectively decided to cut ties.

The article goes on to relate that Branstad wants to kill the party's fundraising and attention-getting Ames Straw Poll–where last time around Ron Paul came in a very close second (though it did little to generate momentum for him, as media tended to ignore it.)

My 2012 book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.