First, the news from Missouri is very encouraging to those who recognize in Ron Paul the best hope for a President who will honor his oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
On March 17, the Republican Party Caucus held in St. Charles County, Missouri, made national news after confrontations there resulted in two arrests and the failure of the group to award any delegates.
Last week, the county GOP tried again and this time the police were not involved, and delegates to the state and district conventions were elected and every one of the 147 delegates who will attend the two conventions will represent Ron Paul.
Paul’s Show Me State success comes despite the fact that former candidate Rick Santorum won the caucus vote in Missouri with 55 percent of the vote. Presumed nominee Mitt Romney finished second with 25 percent, and Ron Paul came in a distant third with only 12 percent of the vote.
Mike Carter, a candidate for Missouri Lieutenant Governor, was present at both caucus meetings and describes the very different atmosphere and outcome:
The March 17th venue wasn't expecting such a huge turnout. It swirled with rumors of rampant establishment-candidate favoritism, rule bending and disagreements about decorum. Tensions were high and things got out of hand. When we reconvened on April 10, things were much improved. The event was very organized and successful; of course, Ron Paul won very handily.
The GOP in Missouri is clearly dealing with new and growing forces within the party; the Ron Paul effort is more committed and organized than any party has witnessed in recent history — even more so than Obama's '08 machine. Paul's successes are steadily creeping up in several areas around the country, including Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Texas and many more.
There is convincing evidence that Carter may be correct in his assessment of the actual delegate landscape in the Republican Party’s bid to take control of the White House from Barack Obama.
Take for example this headline from a Real Clear Politics story about the awarding of delegates in Colorado: “GOP has chosen 13 Romney delegates and six Santorum delegates. The remaining 17 delegates are unpledged, meaning they are free to choose any Republican candidate for president.”
In light of that information, the relevant inquiry becomes which of the other two Republican presidential hopefuls — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul — will win the support of these 17 unpledged delegates in the convention?
The likely answer is not surprising in light of the experience in Missouri. The Real Clear Politics article posits that, “Many would-be delegates criticized Romney, and some dejected Santorum fans teamed with Ron Paul supporters to push what they called a 'Conservative Unity Slate' to look for a non-Romney presidential candidate.”
In fact, word out of Colorado is that the push to elect ABR (“anybody but Romney”) was more successful than the article suggests.
Todd King of Lewis, Colorado, is one of those 17 ABR delegates. King is an avid advocate of a Ron Paul presidency and has committed to cast his vote for Paul at the national Republican Convention in Tampa in August.
In an article published in the Communities section of the Washington Times, Thomas Mullen reports the answer King gave him when asked about the breakdown of the 17 uncommitted delegates: “13 unpledged delegates, including me, will vote for Ron Paul on the first ballot. One unpledged delegate will vote for Santorum. The remaining three unpledged delegates, also known as the 'delegates at large,' are the state GOP Chairman, the state GOP National Committeman and the National Committeewoman. Those three will likely vote for Romney. They usually vote for the frontrunner so as not to make waves,” King claims.
It is important to recall, if for no other reason than as a point of reference, that when the popular vote was counted, Rick Santorum carried the state with 40 percent of the total ballots cast for him, former Massachusetts Governor Romney finished second with 35 percent, and Ron Paul, once again garnered a mere 12 percent of the caucus votes cast.
However, with the foregoing story of the commitment (or noncommitment) of delegates in mind, Ron Paul leapfrogs the other Republicans in the race for the White House, landing in a tie for the final count of delegates that will throw their support to the Texas Congressman when it really counts — in Tampa in August on the convention floor.
Once again, this scenario reinforces the widely held notion (among Paul voters) that popular vote, despite the colorful, virtual reality hype given to it by television news networks, is nearly meaningless compared to the more realpolitik value of a delegate-by-delegate campaign strategy such as that being followed by Ron Paul.
The news isn’t good from every corner of the country, however. As was reported on the Ron Paul 2012 campaign website, the Republican establishment in Alaska is overtly working to prevent Paul supporters from awarding their man the delegates representing our 49th state.
According to the report, GOP State Chairman Randy Reudrich (pictured above) is trying to “disenfranchise Paul and other non-Romney delegates to the party’s upcoming state convention.”
The Paul campaign is concerned about the efforts of Alaskan officialdom to block its access to the state convention (and ultimately the national convention) because as it reckons, their man “won a significant portion of delegates at the Alaska State House district conventions already held.”
Furthermore, given the suspension by Rick Santorum of his presidential campaign, the Paul camp is counting on the conversion of many of those delegates previously committed to Santorum to the cause of constitutionalism and its only presidential spokesman — Ron Paul.
Exactly how is the Alaska Republican Party trying to stack the delegate deck against the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul? Here’s the story from the Paul campaign website:
The Alaska Republican Party state convention is set to be held from April 26th-28th, and all previous communications to would-be delegates have stated that a delegate fee of $250 would be accepted up until the convention registration deadline, which is 2:00 p.m. Alaska Time on April 26th. However, on Monday the 16th state party chairman Randy Reudrich called a state committee meeting at which he stated that delegate fees would be accepted no later than 48 hours from the time of the meeting, which would be Wednesday, April 18th. However, on Tuesday the state party said that delegate fees had to be paid by 6:00 p.m that evening. As individual delegates and campaigns scrambled to pay delegate fees, the state party erected bizarre and allegedly extra-legal obstacles in front of Paul, prolife, and other non-Romney delegates, and communications between self-identifying non-Romney delegates and state party personnel degraded.
A Santorum supporter mused as to what could compel Reudrich to concoct such a scheme in the first place: “They are saying that GOP state chairman, Randy Reudrich, was promised a Romney job in Washington. He better hope that’s the case because he is finished in this state.”
Regardless of the self-serving motivations behind the placement of such impediments in Ron Paul’s path to the White House, the candidate is not going to take such malicious manipulation of the electoral process lying down. In a letter to Randy Reudrich from the law firm representing the Ron Paul 2012 campaign, Reudrich is informed that:
Should the Alaska Republican Party fail to appropriately address these issues immediately, and conform its behavior, the Paul Campaign will pursue all of the legal remedies available to ensure that the process is fair and legal and that the rights of citizens participating in this process are not violated.
Calls from The New American to the Alaska Republican Party asking for comment on the letter from the Ron Paul 2012 campaign's legal counsel were not returned by press time.
Photo of Randy Reudrich: AP Images