Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

Currently: 101° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Romney, Paul supporters clash at Nevada GOP

Click to enlarge photo

Rep. Ron Paul speaks at a rally for Philippine-American veterans at the Leatherneck Club in Las Vegas Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

Click to enlarge photo

Mitt Romney in Las Vegas on Oct. 17, 2011.

Republican presidential long-shot Ron Paul energized a loyal following at Nevada's GOP state convention Saturday with familiar themes, calling for limited government, limited spending and personal freedoms.

Paul told a cheering crowd he'd cut $1 trillion from the federal budget and that people should have a "God-given right" to keep what they earn.

Paul has yet to win a state primary or a caucus outright, but his ardent backers have been turning out in large numbers at county and state conventions around the country to try to win delegates to the national GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. Their strategy is to try to influence the national party platform or vote for Paul if the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, does not win the nomination on the first ballot.

Cutting government waste and fraud are not enough to control government, Paul said, because "government itself is wasteful, fraudulent and abusive."

He received resounding applause after his 16-minute speech as the crowd chanted, "President Paul, President Paul."

Romney won Nevada's caucus in February with half of the vote. Under party rules adopted last fall, Romney should get 20 of Nevada's 28 delegates for the national convention. Paul would get eight.

But Paul backers were trying to hold out for a bigger delegate count.

Carl Bunce, Paul's Nevada campaign chairman, has said supporters of the Texas congressman would abide by convention rules, but has also said he can't control what they do if they are named a national delegate. Mischief came early at the convention, when a Paul supporter accused the Romney camp of passing out a fake slate of Paul delegates. The list included some known Romney backers.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and party leaders called for civility and unity to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

"When we leave this convention, when we leave the national convention, we are one party with one cause," Krolicki said.

Romney's son, Josh Romney, received wide applause when he told the convention Nevada is important to his father's presidential quest.

"We've been campaigning hard here," he said. "My dad's going to be here a lot."

But when chants of "Mitt, Mitt, Mitt" erupted at the end of his speech, they were quickly drowned out by shouts of "Paul, Paul, Paul" by the large contingent of Paul supporters.

Four years ago, party officials shut down the state convention when it appeared Paul would take most of Nevada's delegates to the national convention. This year backers of the conservative Texas congressman have taken control of the Republican Party in Clark County, the state's largest, and claimed a large share of seats on the state GOP central committee.

Besides the chaos of the convention four years ago, the Nevada GOP suffered national embarrassment when it took two days to count February's caucus results in Clark County. Last month the central committee elected Michael McDonald state party chair, the party's fourth since late 2009.

Delegates to the state convention will also elect a committeeman and committeewoman to represent Nevada on the Republican National Committee.

Current National Committeewoman Heidi Smith of Reno is being challenged by Paul supporter Diana Orrock of Clark County and Carol Del Carlo of Incline Village, former secretary of the state GOP.

National Committeeman Bob List, a former Nevada governor, will face off with James Smack of Fallon, a Paul supporter and vice chairman of the state party.

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: 1 comment 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. With leadership like this, what more can you expect? http://www.stevemiller4lasvegas.com/TheM...