Never let it be said that the people have no power. Ron Paul supporters in Alaska flexed their electoral muscle and the former leadership of the state Republican Party is gone.
As was reported by The New American last week, outgoing GOP State Chairman Randy Reudrich was, according to stories being reported out of Alaska, trying to “disenfranchise Paul and other non-Romney delegates to the party’s upcoming state convention.”
Appropriately, the Paul campaign took issue with the efforts of Alaskan GOP officialdom to block its access to the state convention (and ultimately the national convention) because as it rightly reckoned, their man “won a significant portion of delegates at the Alaska State House district conventions already held.”
Add that to the fact that Rick Santorum terminated his presidential campaign and Paul’s people in Alaska were 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.
Well, they need worry no longer. On Saturday Ruedrich delivered his last address as Chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.
“There’s always someone pointing out that the world would be a better place if they were in charge,” said Ruedrich during his swan song. The event was the state GOP convention held at the Anchorage Hilton.
After his remarks, a new chairman was announced and he is determined to steer the state party in a decidedly different direction.
After 12 years of being run by the Establishment wing of the Republican Party, a new brand of Republican has taken over and they have selected Russ Millette to be their leader.
Both Millette and co-chair Debbie Holland-Brown are Ron Paul supporters.
Millette, 66,will not take the chair of the state GOP until 2013 so for now he will work as the the party’s finance chairman.
Ruedrich has held the job of chairman since 2000 but he decided not to run for re-election.
This sudden change of heart is not surprising after the kerfuffle he stirred up around the country as word of his shenanigans spread across the lower 48.
The story of how Ruedrich and his allies in the Alaska Republican Party tried to stack the delegate deck against the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul is described by a post on the Ron Paul 2012 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 have compelled 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 Texas Congressman was 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 was 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."
Seems the potential for a job in the prospective Romney White House was not as convincing as an all-too-real letter from a lawyer.
The story of how the goings-on at the Alaska Republican State Convention led to a coup d’etat in favor of Ron Paul was published in the Alaska Dispatch:
But after the party delegates’ votes were tallied Saturday evening, a cheer erupted from Paul supporters on the second floor of the Hilton. Others looked crestfallen. Some blamed failed senatorial candidate Joe Miller and his wife, Kathleen, who spent much of their time Saturday huddled with Paul supporters. Miller was largely expected to jockey for a party leadership position, but it was Kathleen who, sporting a Ron Paul sticker, won a seat on Alaska’s GOP Electoral College.
The Millers were nowhere to be found at the party afterwards at Ron Paul’s Alaska campaign headquarters in downtown Anchorage, where both Millette and Brown spoke to supporters.
“They tried every maneuver they could, but God prevailed,” Millette told the crowd, many who were half his age or younger.
To be sure, not all Paul supporters believe in God, but a certain alliance between the tea party and Paulites was necessary for an upset in GOP politics on the Last Frontier, as evidenced by Joe Miller backers aligning with Paul supporters at this weekend’s convention. And so, regardless of religious beliefs, they cheered for Millette.
All was not calm in the Last Frontier, however, as the results of the election were barely official before the controversy began.
In a last ditch effort to scuttle the success of Millette and the Ron Paul Republicans, Ruedrich and his cohorts confirmed to reporters that they had emptied the state party’s bank account of nearly $100,000 and transferred the money to the Capital City Republicans, the Juneau branch of the party.
Why would they take such a drastic and obviously devious step? According to Ruedrich, he was “concerned” that Millette might not let current leadership spend the money their way.
When asked for a reaction to the funnelling of the funds out of the state account and into the Juneau GOP’s account, Millette responded that he would “deal with that later.”
Fair enough. Millette deserves to bask for a moment in the glow of his victory. Although his administration won’t begin for another 8 months, Alaskan backers of Ron Paul will recognize immediately much to admire in Millette’s personal policy positions.
When interviewed by the Alaska Dispatch regarding the direction he would like to take the party, Millette responded that he would like to increase the transparency of government and see “true conservatives” elected to office.
As to what qualifies one as a “true conservative,” Millette’s definition is definitely distinct from that that a more tradition Republican might offer. For example, Millette is opposed to a federal law that would define marriage, as well as federal laws governing abortion. Millette believes such decisions do not fall within the scope of the powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution, therefore such matters should be dealt with by the states as mandated by the Tenth Amendment.
While the restoration of fairness to the Alaskan Republican Party is to be applauded, it is important to remember that Randy Ruedrich will remain the chairman throughout the 2012 election process and Alaskans, thus all constitutionalists in Alaska and nationwide must remain vigilant and carry on in the fight for freedom.