Shenanigans in ColoradoSubmitted by tsilb on Sun, 04/15/2012 - 14:50
5th Congressional District Assembly
As some of you surely know or have estimated by now, I am an ardent supporter of Ron Paul for President. What you may not know is that I am also a member of a grassroots Tea Party group which has been organizing some very strong efforts on his behalf. As much as we had prepared for the assemblies this weekend, we weren't prepared for what the Ron Paul 2012 campaign pulled.
Yesterday, I attended the Colorado District 5 Congressional Assembly. I thought I had done far too much preparation, but it paid off. Parking was easy, convenient, and nearby; and we arrived around noon for a 2:00 assembly which opened for credentialing at 1:00.
The Ron Paul campaign had not communicated to us there being any official Ron Paul slate, despite the attendance of Matt Holdridge, the regional director of the Ron Paul campaign, at the very meeting when we discussed the issue. Therefore, at this very meeting, we created our own slate of six delegates to vote up to the Republican National Convention.
When we got to the CD5 assembly, we found that the Ron Paul campaign was indeed pushing an official slate. This seemed like good news, at first, until we saw Rick Santorum's name on the slate. Taken aback, we were all but certain this lack of communication and coordination must have been some sort of vile treachery.
The hybrid Ron Paul / Rick Santorum "Conservative Unity Slate" had no names I recognized. Two were pledged to Santorum, and the rest were unpledged. I discussed the issue with a few of the delegates who I knew from my group, who therefore I knew as fellow Ron Paul delegates. The consensus was that these two Santorum-pledged delegates absolutely would not vote for Paul, which raised obvious doubt over whether we could trust any of the names on the slate. Coming from the Campaign and vetted by the volunteers at the Ron Paul table, however, it did have some credence.
The consensus was that we didn't know these people, but we did know our people. While I won't speak for the group, I'll tell you I voted for our slate. Of the six, we got no delegates and two alternates to National. Of the entire Congressional District, I heard we got four delegates and five alternates. I cannot speak intelligently to the total of the other CD assemblies combined, however, as I've heard several different totals from several different sources. It may be anywhere from 11 to 22. What I do know is that whatever the total, the Ron Paul Unity Slate won by a landslide.
The singer butchered the National Anthem with her crazy inflections and unpredictable tempo. When you lead a group in a sing-along, especially a group numbering in the thousands, use a tempo people are familiar with.
Colorado State Republican Convention
Today, I attended the Colorado State Republican Convention. My over-prepared nature paid off, as I got one of the best parking spaces anywhere. We arrived at 6:30 for a 9:00 assembly that opened for ticketing at 7:00. I consider the preparations and parking endeavors a massive success once again.
The actual convention went off with two huge hitches. Once again, the Ron Paul campaign had distributed its Unity slate (small yellow and small white sheets) without our knowledge. That is to say, we expected an official slate this time, but we didn't expect Santorum's name or delegates on it. Exactly the same concerns came up over the loyalty of the delegates, but we had a lot more votes to throw around this time (24 instead of 6).
There was no absolute consensus on what we known-loyal delegates should do with our votes; our loyalty had been split between two Ron Paul groups. Later on in the day, yet another Ron Paul slate (large yellow full size A4 paper) was distributed, this time without the Santorum contaminants. There were names on this list I actually recognized, and thus I knew I could trust this list.
We then learned of a fourth slate, also going under the name "Conservative Unity". This one was on the same size small white paper, and was clearly designed to look like our "Conservative Unity" slate. This fourth slate did not bear the names of the Presidential candidates (Paul and Santorum), nor the campaign directors' signatures. I quickly picked up on rumors that this was distributed by the Mitt Romney campaign, and these rumors were quickly confirmed by three emails from the Ron Paul Campaign. They must have used the design from yesterday's Congressional District Assembly "Unity" slates. Gotta love smart phones.
Immediately, the true patriots sprang into action. Several went around writing "FAKE" on the fake slates, while I instead opted to remove them entirely. I can't speak for the others, but I know I covered at least six counties, including El Paso, the largest in Colorado. I still have to wonder how many votes went to these deceitful Romney delegates which should have gone to us.
Again, I won't speak for the group, but I'll tell you how I resolved it.
As we only got two alternates and no delegates the day before, I voted for those same six people again, even though our slate had been intended for the Congressional Assembly, and not the State Convention. I then filled in the difference with what was left of the large yellow (third) slate. With the remainder of my 24 votes, I filled in what I could fit of the unpledged delegates on the offical (small, yellow, signed) Unity Slate. I did not vote for any Santorum pledges as we had a good reason to believe they would not vote for Paul at the RNC.
From what I've been able to piece together, the Ron Paul Unity strategy worked, pulling in 12 delegates and 13 alternates in total. The numbers I've heard range from 11 to 22 across all conventions and assemblies, being sent to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August.
Turns out the Unity slate was a top secret cooperative deal between the Ron Paul and Rick Santorum campaigns. It makes sense, in the end. If you take Rick Santorum, remove all the crazy religious stuff (i.e. banning porn and contraception), and remove the foreign policy, you're left with Ron Paul. They seem to agree on the Constitutional agenda, which is the most important agenda of all. The strategy worked, earning us a bunch of delegates and loyal Ron Paul people in the Delegation.
Perhaps more importantly, we have fundamentally altered the Republican Platform, bringing it closer to the Constitutional values of limited government, enumerated powers, and low taxes which created it in the first place. We have introduced numerous resolutions, many successfully, with clear Libertarian influence, which just happen to coincide with the actual, proper Republican agenda.
There was a strong "Matt Holdridge F*d Us" sentiment in the Ron Paul crowd. For those of you who don't know him, Matt Holdridge is the Colorado Director for the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign. This turned out not to be the case, as we won Colorado; though the lack of communication certainly pointed that way.
I understand the strategy, and I understand the hasty departure from the previous strategy to the new Unity strategy. I even understand giving us new names to vote for. What I don't understand is why the campaign didn't tell us, even the day of the assemblies. Luckily, however, it seems to have worked out. Not as big as I'd prefer, but Colorado being a very pro-Santorum state, this was a huge victory.
As it turns out, the key is that the Chairman of the Colorado Delegation casts the votes for all unpledged delegates. Since we won the Chairman spot, the many unpledged delegates default to Ron Paul.
It wasn't a bad strategy. It was bad communication.
From what I've read, Ron Paul also won Minnesota today.
The Revolution is underway, and it has picked up momentum, winning two caucus states in a day. We warned Mitt to watch out; the delegate strategy is working.
Colorado Delegate Michael Clifton has more.