Are some Ron Paul supporters going rogue and confronting the Republican Party in a manner of which Mr. Paul himself would not approve?
That question arises due to what went down on the evening of May 15 at a meeting of the Clark County GOP in Nevada. At the confab, Paul supporters pushed through a resolution rebuking Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus and calling on him to resign his post due to his decision to merge some RNC fundraising with that of presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
The Paul crowd accused Mr. Priebus of violating an RNC rule against aiding one party presidential hopeful while another remains in the race.
“We hope that our Republican colleagues in local and state parties across the nation will join with us in expressing our outrage at having our role in the nomination process usurped by a select few individuals,” read the Clark County Republican statement, according to a copy posted on the blog of Nevada political analyst Elizabeth Crum.
Did the Paul supporters in Clark County – which contains Las Vegas and three-quarters of the state’s population – not hear that Paul has announced he will no longer campaign in states that have yet to hold primaries?
OK, that’s not the same thing as formally ending his campaign, as we ourselves have said. But you can see the campaign’s end from there. More to the point, Paul and his campaign staff have been urging his supporters to remain civil as they plan for the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.
“By sending a large, respectful, and professional delegation to Tampa, we will show the party and the country that .,. our movement is growing and here to stay,” wrote Paul strategist Jesse Benton in a convention strategy memo.
Or, as Mr. Benton put it later in a conference call with reporters, “we’re emphasizing decorum.”
Call us sensitive, but insisting that that head of your party resign for helping the person who is the virtually certain nominee does not seem very decorous to us. And that’s what some analysts have pointed out: Paul’s supporters may not yet have given up on the campaign, despite the fact that the man they support has indicated that Mr. Romney is going to win the nomination.
“Interesting to see how this sort of thing develops in coming months ... Paul and Paul supporter divergence,” tweeted Josh Putnam, delegate-counting expert and Davidson College political scientist, on Wednesday.
Of course, to some extent the roguehood of Paul supporters is inherent in Paul’s delegate accumulation strategy. He has been urging his backers to organize and win as many delegates as possible at state conventions and caucuses. This inevitably has led to some angry clashes with more traditional Republicans, many of whom have been surprised to suddenly find themselves outvoted in organizations they’ve controlled in the past.
Nevada is perhaps ground zero for this conflict. Paulites have taken control, not just of the Clark County GOP, but of the state Republican Party organization. As a result, some Nevada Republican donors and volunteers are coalescing behind nonparty organizations such as the local chapter of Americans for Prosperity, according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.