Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

Currently: 63° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Damon Political Report


Ron Paul’s Nevada camp in a more collaborative mood


Sam Morris

Former presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul speaks to thousands of supporters in September 2008 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Sun Coverage

Four years ago, the Ron Paul revolution swept through Nevada, drawing a wave of politically disaffected, mostly young, avidly libertarian voters into the stream of Republican politics.

Back then, it was the Paul-ites vs. the establishment. The Republican Party was their Tammany Hall and they weren’t going to stop until they had rousted the compromising, moderate, power-hungry leaders from the GOP ranks.

And they had a pretty notable victory toward that end.

A deftly organized cadre of Paul supporters who had become experts in the arcane rules governing the Republican Party and who had armed themselves with laptops and cellphones to communicate infiltrated the 2008 state convention.

Using the party’s own rules against it, they forced a change that would have allowed them to elect delegates from the floor, yanking the delegate selection process out of the hands of the party elite.

Ultimately, the party leaders, fearing Nevada delegates would go to the national convention to support Paul — who came in second in the caucuses — instead of the party’s nominee John McCain, aborted the convention before delegates could be elected.

It became a national embarrassment for the Nevada GOP. The national party ended up choosing Nevada’s delegates.

Since then, Paul’s Nevada supporters have been working a new strategy. As Paul readies his 2012 presidential campaign, the outsiders have now become the insiders, working to change the state Republican Party from within its own ranks, rather than battling it from the outside.

Again, they’ve been fairly successful.

They’ve spent the past three years working as volunteers at county and state party gatherings. They’ve elected members of their ranks as at least one county party chair and to multiple spots on party central committees and executive boards.

“They have been very successful,” said Heidi Smith, national committeewoman for Nevada. “They are as strong as they ever were. They are all members of the (state) central committee. They have worked hard to get where they are now and instead of fighting the party, they are working within it.”

Not all of their efforts have been successful. At the recent Clark County Republican Party executive board election, Paul supporters were rejected.

But from their position within the party, they’ve been able to effect rule changes — helping pass a rule making the results of next year’s Nevada caucuses binding, rather than winner-takes-all.

That means Paul — and every other candidate competing in the caucuses — will be automatically entitled a portion of Nevada’s national delegates equal to the share of the vote won in the caucuses.

Paul’s supporters also helped elect a new state chairwoman — Clark County resident Amy Tarkanian, the wife of former U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian — who, so far, has engendered their trust.

“She is going to be a refreshing face for the party,” said Carl Bunce, a Paul supporter who went to the 2008 national convention as a Nevada delegate and who now works for the campaign. “She’ll be able to accomplish what the party needs to raise funds and establish a solid organization that people want to get involved in and donate money to.”

Bunce said the caustic relationship between Paul supporters and the party leadership has largely evaporated.

“All that kind of abrasiveness has kind of gone away,” he said.

At least a tinge of that distrust remains, perhaps. Asked for examples of Paul supporters who have made it onto county or the state’s central committees, Bunce answered:

“I’m not here to out anyone. If they want to be known, they’ll make themselves known.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 3 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Chunky says:

    By most measures the Chunkmeister falls into the Libertarian philosophy but he's also not convinced Mr. Paul is electable.

    It is a shame that our political system is controlled in such a way that the best candidate regardless of party cannot get a fair shake. By and large almost all the parties and candidates are dominated by out of touch, gray haired old white men who live their lives and run their campaigns steeped in the antique past of the 50s - 60s.

    Slowly but surely they've all run our country into the ground with out of date points of view and now to the point of financial bankruptcy. Any business or individual with the current debt to income ratio of the US would have been bankrupted years ago. The only difference is the government can manipulate the numbers and print their own money as needed.

    Too bad we didn't get the change we really needed!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  2. Is reporter Anjeanette Damon aware of the gradual infiltration of the Ron Paul Camp and the Tea Party Camp with Neoconservatives and Establishment Republicans?

    Infiltration of political groups with agents provocateurs and other subversives is a well-known tactic known to historians and political scientists.

    A good example is William F. Buckley's sly conversion of the Republican Party to Trotskyism. Trotskyism is the process of gradually converting a nation to democratic socialism with centralization of power at the top.

    There is a legion of examples of the deceptiveness of the political process.

    And the deceptiveness of the Fourth Estate? I won't even begin to go there!

  3. I live in Ron Paul's congressional district. He's a good man - my son knows him and is the only one who would have kept us out of the Iraqi War from which financially (Bush supplemental budgets) we will never recover.