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March 1, 2015

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Ron Paul supporters capture majority of Nevada’s national delegates

Delegates to national GOP convention must vote in first round according to caucus results but are free to vote for others if there is a second round


Marilyn Newton / AP Photo

Ron Paul supporters wave campaign signs at the Nevada state GOP convention at John Ascauaga’s Nugget on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Updated Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 12:08 p.m.

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul captured the majority of Nevada’s national delegates early Sunday, overwhelming likely nominee Mitt Romney with an organized contingent who easily took control of the state convention.

Paul’s supporters won 22 of the 25 national delegate slots up for election at the state convention in Sparks on Saturday. Romney won three.

Another three automatic delegates are expected to support Romney, meaning Romney will have six supporters in the delegation and Paul will have 22.

But while Paul loyalists will make up the majority of the Nevada delegation, Republican rules require the first vote at the national convention to reflect the results of the Feb. 4 caucus, which Romney easily won.

That means 20 of Nevada’s national delegates must vote for Romney, while eight will be free to vote for Paul in the first balloting.

While some Paul supporters voiced an intention to challenge the binding requirement, the campaign opted not to further antagonize the Republican National Committee, who has threatened not to seat the delegates if they ignore the caucus results and vote for Paul.

“We are sending a strong delegation to Tampa in August,” Paul’s Nevada chairman Carl Bunce said. “There are rumors that (the Paul campaign) will actively work to not follow rules and unbind our delegates. That is false; we are not doing that. Congressman Paul is an individual who wants to follow the rules, follow the Constitution and we follow that lead.”

Jim DeGraffenried, the secretary of the state party, stressed party officials will not allow the national delegation to deviate from the binding caucus results.

“We will not allow anyone to break that,” DeGraffenreid said. “If they do, the will revoke their delegate status and they will be replaced by alternates.”

Nevada Republican Convention 2012

Presidential hopeful Ron Paul talks to delegates of the Nevada state GOP convention at John Ascauaga's Nugget on Saturday May 5, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The alternates are largely Romney supporters.

Paul’s campaign has been determined to use the party’s own rules to keep his long-shot candidacy alive. His backers have spent the last four years immersing themselves in the arcane procedures governing the presidential nominating contest.

They’re embarked on a state-by-state strategy to capture enough national delegates to influence the convention in Tampa and to be well positioned should an opportunity for a brokered convention arise.

Although Paul has failed to win the popular vote in any state primary or caucus, many of his backers are still convinced he can win the nomination.

According to estimates based on initial primary and caucus results, Romney has won 847 delegates compared to Paul’s 80 delegates.

Bunce portrayed Paul’s victory at the state convention as the growing power of his message “of liberty” within the party’s ranks.

“There’s going to be growing pains in this party,” Bunce said. “Those of you who aren’t part of the liberty movement yet, I hope you can at least ask questions, see where we’re coming from. I do not want this party to fall apart.”

But Bunce clearly reveled in the campaign’s ability to control the convention, even while promising to follow the rules.

“Just because you have the power doesn’t mean you have to wield it,” he said in announcing the contingent would not challenge the binding requirement. “Just because you have the sword doesn’t mean you have to strike.”

The Romney campaign has done its best to distance itself from the state convention chaos, sending lawyers to watch over the count and doing its best to organize supporters.

In the end, they failed to get enough of their backers to Sparks to elect delegates.

But campaign officials say they are focused instead on the fact he won 16,486 of the 32,894 votes cast in the February caucuses.

“We are pleased to have won the support of so many Nevadans on Election Day,” a Romney campaign spokesperson said. “With his overwhelming win, delegates to the national convention will be backing Gov. Romney in Tampa in support of his positive vision for our country.”

National Republican officials characterized the Nevada convention as a “Ron Paul super bowl,” noting that his supporters spent the last four years working to take over the state party structure. They’ve captured seats on state and county central committees, elected a state chairman and elected their own to represent Nevada at the Republican National Committee.

A RNC source said the party won’t challenge the results of the delegate election as long as they honor the binding rule.

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  1. Hilarious! Now let's hear from the National GOP after their threats. The Republican party has been nothing but a joke since the likes of Rush, Rove and Norquist took over.

  2. Talk about a soup sandwich.

    I don't understand this snatch defeat from the jaws of victory maneuver by the Romney folks.

    I am glad I'm not a right winger. I'd be more confused than a hooker in church.

    Your politics confuses me. But then again when there's no message to follow, and just pipedreams, that's what you get.

    I guess.

    Corporations are people.

    And frogs can fly too.

    I think.

  3. We see here how a political body has the real potential to completely thwart how the people voted. Furthermore, as an independent I am totally disenfranchised by this "by the people" process - I'm not allowed to vote in a primary.

    It's high time that the entire way we elect officials is thrown out and replaced with Direct Elections at large. The Electoral College and Delegate system should be relegated to the trash heap of history. The founding fathers, who never intended the Constitution to be a replacement for critical or sensible thinking, never could have seen the advancement of how we can instantly communicate these days and our constitutional electoral system is a hulking, bloated dinosaur, only kept alive by the few and powerful. It's high time to fossilize that beast and return the power where it rightfully belongs: to the people at large.

  4. How could that lying Romney say that he took Nevada. We NEVER will vote for him. Ron Paul should consider Nevada as his Flagship!

  5. You said it best test-guy. I also can't vote in the primary.It is all so wrong.Why should I have to be a democrat or republican to vote.I want to vote and they won't let me.Whatever this country gets,they most certainly deserve.

  6. With leadership like this, what more could you expect?

  7. Brought to you by the same people who got Sharron Angle elected... Ohhh that's right she didn't instead Harry Reid is still in office.

    GJ Paul supporters, you're the best friend the democratic party ever had.

  8. GEESHE! Only in NevaDUH!

    So, let me expalin to you NON-Democrats and NON-Repubicans why we have a "Closed Primary" system - it's really very simple!

    The Nevada Democratic Primary is ONLY for Nevada Democrats! Why would we want NON-Democrats trying to muck up our Primary?

    The Nevada Republican Primary is ONLY for Nevada Republicans! Why would anyone want NON-Republicans trying to muck up their Primary? Oh, wait, that's why Ron Paul ran as a Republican - LOL!

    This is the reality today, the smaller political parties are just for a few political charlatans that are trying to get paid and laid - so, if you just can't go "D" or "R" have the common-sense to register as a Non-Partisan, and just wait to make your choice(s) in the General Election in November!

    That's the way it works with 308 Million Americans in today's world - and we most certainly have a lot of work to do in "forming a more perfect union" indeed we do!

  9. @Johnathan_Abbinett - so let me explain to you why a closed primary takes away rights of voters who are not part of the two major parties (and, please, don't assume that people are so stupid that they don't understand how closed primaries work):

    (1) anyone can change from R to D to I at the drop of a hat, so your argument that independents and/or others would muck up "your" primary is without the least bit of merit. Thousands of GOP members could change voter registration before a primary and easily muck up the Dems... but you know, if you look in states that have open primaries, you will find that the opposite party does not muck anything up... it's all in your mind, my friend.

    (2) by telling me that I have to accept what-ever slate the two party system throws at me is to deny me the right to make my own choices in who I want to vote for... in essence, closed primaries take away the voting rights of independents and many other political groups. In my mind, this is simply intolerable.

    You also wrote - "That's the way it works with 308 Million Americans in today's world" ---

    Better go back and check your facts fella ... that's **NOT** the way it works in many of the 50 States... for example - in West Virginia, where state law allows parties to determine whether primaries are open to independents, Republican primaries are open to independents, while Democratic primaries were closed. Other states have Open, semi-open, semi-closed, or closed systems ... but not, by a long shot, are all closed systems.

    There's also a lot a case law that makes closed primaries highly questionable - for example :the United States Supreme Court determined that Connecticut's closed primary law was unconstitutional.

    The bottom line here is that I, as a citizen of the Unites States and as a citizen of Nevada, should be able to participate in the process of electing a slate of delegates for the candidate of my choice (without having to jury-rig my registration from I to R or D several times over my life). As Nevada's law now stands, I am deprived of those rights.

  10. The young keep life in Paul's "campaign." Kids are idealists. Nothing wrong with that, but it will never get Paul elected. Your campaign contribution is wasted.

  11. This is disgusting for the Nevada Republicans What a shame.

  12. Great example of the unity found in the GOP..