Ahead of its state convention to be held Saturday in Grand Forks, the Nebraska GOP is ramping up security in order to prevent mayhem it believes could be caused by rowdy Ron Paul supporters.
Jordan McGrain, the executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, informed the Nebraska Watchdog that party leaders have contracted with a private security company to keep a check on any attempt by Paul backers to disrupt the selection of delegates to the national convention.
“We’re just not going to tolerate any disruptions,” McGrain said. “This is not going to be a free-for-all.”
McGrain reports that Republicans in the Cornhusker State have been barraged with phone calls from supporters of both remaining Republican presidential candidates — Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Many recipients of those phone calls have informed McGrain that representatives of both camps are trying to nail down the allegiances of potential delegates.
Consistent with his fear-mongering regarding the possibility of their disruption of the delegate selection process, McGrain accuses those promoting the election of Paul-friendly delegates of pretending to be state party officials in calls to delegates. A representative of the local Ron Paul 2012 campaign denies these allegations.
The scrum over Nebraska’s 32 delegates is an important pre-national convention contest. As NBC News is reporting:
If Paul wins a plurality of delegates in Nebraska this weekend, his name will be put forth as a nominee versus Mitt Romney in Tampa. If his team can't secure enough delegates on Saturday, his longshot [sic] bid for the Republican presidential nomination is formally dead.
Nebraska is the last state to hold a convention and its 32 delegates are not required to match the May 15 “beauty contest” primary, where presumptive nominee Mitt Romney won 70 percent of the vote. However, prospective delegates must indicate their presidential preference and are bound to vote for that candidate for the first two ballots at the August Republican National Convention.
McGrain disagrees with NBC’s analysis of state party rules regarding the requirement of delegates to cast their votes consistent with the results of the primary held earlier this year.
The head of the GOP establishment in Nebraska insists that delegates have a responsibility to deliver all their votes for Romney, the winner of the primary. He warns that party members loyal to Ron Paul will try to “steal away a few delegates,” but is confident they will be unable to sway a majority to throw their support behind the Libertarian-leaning Texas congressman.
McGrain grouses that Republicans rooting for Ron Paul are trying to “take by party rules what they couldn’t on election day.”
In other words, as with so many others of his ilk, McGrain is angry that there are significant numbers of Ron Paul supporters and that they are educated about the rules governing the election of delegates and they are prepared to see them obeyed to the last jot and tittle.
Some of McGrain’s counterparts in other states have warned him to look out for “Paulistas,” whom they paint as perpetrators of various schemes to wrest control of state conventions. Among the weapons Republican officials in Louisiana and Nevada claim are in the arsenal of the battalion of Paul are “endless votes, amendments, re-votes, and parliamentary delays.” The Republican leaders believe that the goal of these tactics is the “wearing out of establishment Republicans.”
Again, from state to state, those men and women invested in the nomination of Mitt Romney in Tampa in August are determined to prevent Paul supporters from manipulating the rules — rules they helped write — to help put their man at the top of the Republican presidential ticket in November.
In fairness, Nebraska’s GOP has something to fear from an organized and determined bloc of Paul supporters showing up at their state convention on July 14.
A survey of the performance of Ron Paul’s backers at several other state conventions is worth taking in light of the extraordinary steps taken in Nebraska to thwart any coup attempt by those who consider Ron Paul to be our Republic’s last and best hope for a return to constitutional principles.
First, at the Maine convention, three words were used to describe the scene at the Augusta Civic Center: chaos, turmoil, and insane. When the smoke cleared, the Paul platoon had united and their man, Brent Tweed, was elected chairman of the state convention.
The domination by the Ron Paul bloc was so complete that by the time the last folding chair was put away at the two-day convention, they had used the rules of parliamentary procedure to their advantage and walked away with 20 of 24 of the state’s national delegates. Those delegates will be in Tampa and there is nothing forcing them to cast their votes for Mitt Romney.
Next, the Ron Paul Revolution marched on, firing another shot heard round the world in the home of Lexington and Concord. In Massachusetts, less than half of the delegate candidates in favor of former Governor Romney were elected, with Paul taking the majority. This is the sort of math that must drive Romney’s people mad. The “presumptive nominee” should take no solace from the gentleman’s agreement that dictates that delegates vote for Romney when the roll is called in Tampa. The black letter of the rules prescribes no such fealty.
In Louisiana, Paul’s people “dominated the caucuses” and won four out of six congressional districts and tied in a fifth, giving Ron Paul a huge majority of the Tampa-bound delegates. Once again, the numbers are not adding up for Mitt Romney’s coronation.
Iowa, traditionally believed to be a bellwether state for the national contest in November, now has a majority of Ron Paul supporters on the state’s GOP Central Committee. Having their hands on the helm of the Hawkeye State’s Republican Party will likely lead to a large number of their delegates coming from the ever-growing group of Ron Paul believers. According to an article in the Iowa Republican, Ron Paul will be awarded 10 of the state's 28 delegates.
Elsewhere, the wild, wild, west lived up to its historic reputation as Nevadans working to elect delegates employed some of the same strategies that successfully saw their kind seated in Maine, and once again the Romney people were fighting mad.
The Silver State skirmish lasted all day and all night, a “sheer battle of wills” that ended early Sunday morning with increased acrimony between the Ron Paul contingency and those more "moderate" Republicans who felt blindsided by the power of Paul.
So personal and so bitter was the situation in the venue known as “the Nugget” that rumors roiled that those loyal to Mitt Romney passed around a fake ballot purporting to list Ron Paul delegates while actually containing the names of several Romney candidates, as well as containing misspellings of the names of key state party personnel. The Romney campaign denies participating in any such shenanigans.
Jordan McGrain promises that he will not allow his state’s convention to descend into the “all-out anarchy” that he accuses Ron Paul’s people of trying to establish in states such as Nevada.
Nebraska’s Republican Party will be ready for the Ron Paul ruckus and will not allow the Republican governor of his state — Dave Heineman — to be embarrassed by seeing a majority of his state’s delegates go to Ron Paul after he was the first governor to endorse Romney. Such a scenario could cause Heineman to lose a shot at a cabinet post in the Romney administration, a rumor that has been circulating for a while.
Notably, according to Rule 40 of the Republican National Committee, Paul needs a plurality of delegates from five states for his name to be put forth for nomination at the convention.
As described above, Ron Paul has won a majority of state delegates in Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, and Louisiana. RNC rules mandate that if a candidate is nominated he must be given 15 minutes to address the convention before the first round of votes are taken. This is a primetime spot, so it seems the revolution might just be televised after all.