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The Problems Oklahoma Dealt with from the Ron Paul Campaign State Coordinator

Oklahoma has been through a lot this election year. We had problems at our state convention, as many people know. But, it wasn’t just the “establishment” Republicans who we had problems with.

We also had problems with the Ron Paul National Campaign. We haven’t come out and said much about this, but I feel there is no reason to keep this under the radar anymore. This hasn’t been exactly a secret, but some of the details have not been out for all to see. We didn’t want this to cause the Campaign or us any problems back when this was all going down, but right now, I feel it would be beneficial to come out and say some more. I don’t want anyone to think the Ron Paul movement has some kind of tie or support to the person who caused us so much grief.

Back in January of this year, Al Gerhart (with the Sooner Tea Party), was appointed as the Oklahoma State Coordinator for the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign. This was a volunteer position. The end of January, I signed up as a volunteer for the campaign to be the Cherokee County Ron Paul 2012 Campaign Coordinator.

Because I was new to being very politically active, I met Al for the first time at the Ron Paul rally in Oklahoma City the end of February. What I encountered when I met Al was unique. But, it was just the beginning.

Being so new to being really active in the Party, I did not know the Ron Paul grassroots leadership who had been around since 2008, like Brady Wright, Lukus Collins, etc. I was slowly introduced to them via someone in my county, Shannon Grimes (who was also grassroots and had been around since 2008). But, this was a slow process over a month or two. When I signed up to be a county coordinator, I was told to not have contact with the grassroots supporters of Ron Paul. This made things rather difficult. I was torn between trying to coordinate both groups, yet not have contact with the one side.

We had great success in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. But, it had nothing to do with the campaign. I sent emails out to the identified RP supporters in our county and we had a great turn out at our County Convention. That night we came away with just over 50% of the delegates from my County. And it was all by God’s hand.

Anyways, what I attempted to do at first was have another friend be the contact point for the grassroots. But, this quickly showed it was not going to work. I tried to have this work as we were leading up to our District Convention. But, this is when I started to realize things were really fishy with the state coordinator that we had.

A few days before Oklahoma’s Congressional District 2 Convention, Al Gerhart sent an email out with instructions for everyone as to how to vote. The quote that got me was this,

“No doubt there are some grassroots candidates running for the same National Delegate slots but on Saturday you have a choice. Do you support Dr. Paul or do you support unofficial candidates that are unknown to the Ron Paul National Campaign.”

When he put the grassroots supporters up against Ron Paul, as if not voting for these “pre-approved delegates” was voting AGAINST Ron Paul, that was one of the first times I said, “I’m not doing what he says.” We were all in this for the same reason – to WIN delegates for Dr. Paul.

The supposed “vetting” process the delegates went through from the national campaign was simply Al Gerhart’s opinion of who he liked and who he didn’t like. I would later find out that this was not done by a committee of people (as the grassroots did leading up to the state convention to choose our delegate slate).

This email (which was very long), caused some people to not attend the District 2 Convention. People did not want to be directed by Al Gerhart or told they were doing wrong by not following his orders. This cost us delegates. The Convention in District 2 was run fairly and we lost the delegate vote by JUST TWO VOTES. Mr. Gerhart cost us a potential win in District 2. It should be noted that 3 of the 5 District Conventions in Oklahoma had a complete sweep for Ron Paul. They were all run fairly and they were all organized and coordinated by the grassroots. The one other district which we did not win was not run fairly and had a challenge at the state convention.

After the District 2 Convention, I decided to get more involved with the grassroots and forget about the fact that I was not supposed to have any tie with them as an “official volunteer campaign coordinator.” This was the best decision I made!

What I ended up doing, even though I had signed a non-disclosure agreement to be a county coordinator, was forward emails that were sent to the county coordinators to a select few of our grassroots leaders. I was watching emails come in to the county coordinators that laid out detailed plans of how to thwart and disrupt the planning and coordination of the grassroots. No, I am not kidding when I say this. I have a massive amount of emails to prove this.

I would receive emails that would tell the time, date & location of where a grassroots strategy meeting would be taking place. And Mr. Gerhart would specifically tell the county coordinators to go there, see what they are saying and try to change their plan. He would tell the county coordinators to try to tell the grassroots to work with the National campaign. Ha! What he didn’t realize is that WE (as in the grassroots) were more than willing to work with the campaign (and tried to more than once), but Mr. Gerhart was the one opposed to that. I know this sounds outrageous, and it is, but it’s what Oklahoma went through with the national campaign.

We could not take this any longer, so we sent an official request to the national campaign signed by 27 grassroots leaders in the Ron Paul/liberty movement in Oklahoma (I was one of the signatures) asking for the immediate termination of Mr. Gerhart. There were many more who would’ve signed this, but due to time constraints we had to send it with “just” 27 signatures. This was sent the beginning of April.

We made it very clear in this letter that there was nothing that Al was doing that we wanted to be a part of. We told them we didn’t have time for his distractions and wanted him gone right away. We gave examples of the problems he caused us, as well as the problems he caused the liberty movement in Oklahoma by acting inappropriately towards GOP Party leadership. This was not a light issue. We made our case very strongly and clearly. We requested a response from the Campaign within a few days.

Mr. Gerhart came back saying that the National Campaign had dismissed what we had brought forward and that he was in the clear. But, interestingly enough, he stepped down from the Campaign position just about a week or two after the letter was sent with not much of an explanation.

We were very glad to see this, because we did not want him around or trying to coordinate anything as we worked up to Oklahoma’s State Convention.

Of course, having the county coordinator position I had, I received a couple emails from Al regarding my signature on the letter. He wanted explanation before he “fired” me from the position. By that point in the game, I was well “entrenched” with the grassroots coordination and felt a response to Al would only hurt us more. So, I did not respond and ultimately things got quiet because he quickly “resigned.”

At the state committee meeting before Oklahoma’s state convention, he did more to put a bad light on Ron Paul supporters by making a big (unnecessary) scene there. There is question among the Ron Paul supporters in Oklahoma if Mr. Gerhart was even a Ron Paul supporter because of his ridiculous actions and statements. When I witnessed this at the state committee meeting, I was even more thankful that we had requested his removal, because I did not want him thinking he had some kind of role in our coordination and work at the state convention level.

Regardless, Mr. Gerhart did a lot of damage to us in Oklahoma, because many people in the “establishment” thought he represented us. He was the farthest thing from representing the liberty movement and Ron Paul supporters in Oklahoma.

I want this message to be sent to the OK GOP: The Ron Paul supporters in Oklahoma do not condone or support anything Al Gerhart does or stands for.

I also feel that Mr. Gerhart caused us a lot of hurt with regards to the National Campaign’s view of Oklahoma. It felt like we were the “red headed step child” after the state convention. We had so many issues at our state convention, yet the Campaign continually refused to help. Yes, we did reach out to them on more than one occasion (and by more than one of us) and never heard a response. Even when we were dealing with our contest to the RNC.

When I confronted John Tate about the Campaign’s lack of support for Oklahoma, it was obvious Mr. Gerhart had hurt us. John Tate acted as if Oklahoma wanted nothing to do with the campaign. If he talked to Mr. Gerhart, that is what you might get because he twisted so much.

But, if you would have talked to the grassroots, we would have accepted the Campaign’s help (and working with the grassroots) with open arms. We had leaders who would’ve stepped up to the plate – and were ready to long before Mr. Gerhart took the position.

Oklahoma continued to be shunned by the Campaign all through Tampa, but I don’t feel the need to go into all of that right now. I’ll just say it felt like being stabbed in the back – and I told John Tate that when I talked to him at 1:30am at the Marriot the week before the Convention.

Overall we learned a lot through this experience. And I hope the same mistakes won’t be repeated again. It wasn’t easy. But, what has been easy for Oklahoma this election cycle?

-Qadoshyah Fish



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philosohy is debatable, facts are facts.

first of all...you still haven't addressed the contradictory statements that started this whole thing.

i don't like to get into debates about philosophy because philosophy is debatable. things that fall into the realm of philosophy usually rely on faith because there is no undisputable truth to back them up. that's why people can, and should, agree to disagree about philosophy and religion. when they can't agree to disagree about philosophy or religion, is how wars start.

it is a physical fact that nothing can exist and not exist at the same time. just like two plus two equals four. therefore, it is not philosophical.

if you think something can exist and not exist at the same time, please enlighten me. either way, it is not philosophical. either it can or it can't.

it would be cool if we could talk directly to one another instead of typing back and forth, as this seems to lead nowhere.

i ask you a question and you try to make yourself feel better by belittling me without answering my question.

here is how i think a good one on one conversation on my original question would go.

ME: did you make this statement? "Someone gave feedback, which I think is correct, that there is no such thing as "grassroots"."

YOU: yes

ME: is it correct to interpret said statement as meaning that you do not think that there is such a thing as grassroots?

YOU: yes, but if i may, i'd like to belittle you a little bit before we move on.

ME: let's stick to the topic for now please. Did you also make the following statements? ""But who are the "grassroots"?

There are "grassroots" I trust and "grassroots" I don't trust.

Would I trust Kokesh's advice on how to run a campaign? Not a chance in hell.

That said, there are grassroots people like you who DO know what they are doing"

YOU: since you copied and pasted that statement directly from something i wrote, i would be silly to deny them. Yes, i made those statements.

ME: would it be reasonable of me to interpret those statements as meaning you must think grassroots exists since you are describing different types of grassroots and telling someone what type of grassroots person they are?

YOU: that would be a reasonable interpretation.

ME: then, could you please explain to me how there can be different types of grassroots attributable to different people if grassroots do not exist.

YOU:???????????????? this is where you answer my question. i can't fill this part in myself, because i am confused about how grassroots can exist and not exist at the same time.

see how easy that could be????

are you ready for some football?

jhl

jhl

From a "non-voice" state.

If working the party is to grow, it most likely is going to have to have it nucleus in states such as yours. This is because you people were able to participate in the political process much easier than a closed primary state such as New York.

There is practically zero participation in the process here. This is not good. I do not feel that anything is going to move forward in this area.

I believe that yours, and the other delegate states, will be looked up to for motivation. I have run out of answers for people to get involved.

You folks did great. You are now the leaders in this area. Any type of action to get movement in other states will probably have to spread from the delegate states.

Wow!

There is much that I can respond to in Mr. Gerhart's post here. It's rather humorous that even his supposed facts about why he wanted to kick me out, don't add up (I am not even married and never have been ;)). So, as I have some time today, I will respond in more detail.

-Qadoshyah Fish
Oklahoma Parking Lot Patriot
http://libertyliveblogteam.wordpress.com

LOL, just read that response

LOL, just read that response and couldn't help but chuckle at the twists,turns, and incorrect information contained therein.

I'm sure your dad will be interested in knowing that he is now your husband.

Al looks to set you up as a horrible cult person so that he can knock down the villain he is manufacturing. Strawman much?

Even here he shows that he is not about the principles that we as a movement promote.

the problem with politics is

the people that usually end up with power are the narcisistic power grubbers that think they are the only ones that know whats good for everyone else.

Al, this is part of the problem

Your reponse above kind of shows what sort of spirit you bring to this. You aren't looking to defuse the situation. You even say "Get ready for a show", rather than looking again at the big picture here. Politics makes not only for strange bedfellows, but situations where you have to take the lesser of two evils and you sometimes have to smile and work with those you cannot stand at all. Be the bigger person and learn to take some criticism without complaint. Rising above petty differences will help us win the future. Falling down every time there's one problem will keep the important issues on the sidelines.

Steve Dickson's picture

National Campaign Incompetence

Romney had the entire party establishment, including the Governor, on board. He did NOT win Oklahoma, Santorum did - with social conservative grassroots support. Oklahoma also had a block for Gingrich, in particular because JC Watts is one of his guys, and he is a former Congressman here (and Corporation Commissioner, and OU quarterback). Ron Paul should have beat both Gingrich and Romney here, if the campaign didn't do such a piss poor job.

The grassroots officially turned over leadership to the national campaign here:

http://ronpaulok.com/2012/02/23/ron-paul-organization-passin...

When the state RP chair started threatening people - women, and officials within the GOP - I CALLED FOR HIM TO RESIGN. Here you go:

Title of post:Ron Paul’s Al Gerhart Bullies, Threatens GOP Official: http://mccarvillereport.com/archives/3282

and my response:

Title of post:Oklahoma County GOP Precinct Chair Calls On Gerhart To Resign From Paul Campaign:
http://mccarvillereport.com/archives/3287

The official campaign was sabotaged from within, and if you can't see that you are blind.

Just a sample for you to consider of what went on here. Good job, Q.

Thanks Steve...

for putting this up here :).

-Qadoshyah Fish
Oklahoma Parking Lot Patriot
http://libertyliveblogteam.wordpress.com

We have a LOT of great people

We have a LOT of great people here in Oklahoma, people like Steve.

I'm very glad to know them and work with them here in my state.

We need more good people to step up and take charge

So the infiltrators can't.

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to post.

" and I hope the same

" and I hope the same mistakes won't be repeated again"

Well it saddens me to say but as things stand this is exactly what you can expect from a Rand 2016 and 2020 run, except for maybe the fact that they will be in it to win it, however probably 2016 will be less to win and more like this year, jockeying to get C4L insiders in key positions. Hey maybe that is good on some level, but I am guessing C4L funds will be drying up by then cause guess where the money is coming from, the people. Last I heard Goldman Sachs wasn't to keen on donating a few million for the cause of Liberty. So C4L/Paul campaign had better rethink their top down strategy and reach out and include people to gain their trust again. Ron Paul was able to do this despite the disconnect simply because he garnered people's respect and trust.

For all those who think we should just step in line and follow directions despite legitimate concerns just because that is how it works in all other campaigns, guess what the real campaign for liberty can't work that way and if you try to force it you have doomed it to failure before it even began.

I don't care how the "real

I don't care how the "real campaign for liberty" should be organized.

But if we're talking about winning elections, just do what the official campaign tells you to do.

People need to stop talking about "grassroots" and more about being "campaign volunteers" - within the context of a political election.

Outside of that, grassroots is useful.

You claim Maine listened but Maine failed in the end.

Some scorecard.

Free includes debt-free!

Sorry but

As soon as we "just do what the official campaign tells you to do", we have lost because that is just politics as usual. The outcome ceases to be meaningful regardless of who is elected. We may or may not ever be able to win as a grassroots movement, but it won't matter if we win or lose once we have just become part of the system.

You will care when the funds

You will care when the funds dry up, and then you will be left with 2 options pander to corporations or work with people. But hey that should be an easy choice for you just follow the example of the Romney and Obama campaigns to get donations cause that is how it is done.

Since I am restricted from personal participation in the elections due to distance restraints I have instead donated what I could in hopes that someone else could do the work I am unable to do. Now that I am unsure wether my donations actually served that purpose. Good luck getting that money next time and there are thousands of people like me with similar restraints who feel the same.

Thanks for this informative

Thanks for this informative post. It is good material for thought and strategy for the future.

I am amazed with some of the oppositional posts by some commenter here that seem to prefer the top down approach rather than the grassroots up approach. I think the history of our movement has proven how effective and energizing the grassroots bottom up approach is. The grassroots has done everything in both campaigns (08, '12). The campaign took care of advertising and published materials...because they had all the funds from the grassroots money bombs. We had to send them money because the success of the campaign is judged by their financials. But truth be told, they were not entirely effective with how they spent those funds. True, the TV ads were produced well the 2nd time around after learning from the TV ad disasters from 08 (he's catching on..egads!) However, there still was evidently a huge disconnect between those who carried out the important work (the grassroots) and the campaign. I guess its just an inherent problem with centralization...just like D.C and the Feds.

What I read in all this is that the power is in the grassroots...the grassroots ought to remain organic and manage most of their efforts locally. They ought to nominate their own representative and then coordinate with the campaign and ask for financial support when needed for critical projects or delegate costs.

Also, for future campaigns, if there are any, perhaps we ought to just direct finance the large projects we want to see happen...like TV and radio advertising in every state. I'd rather fund projects than Jesse Bentons lucrative salary...makes me kinda sick when he made more than what RP would have paid himself as President...but that is a separate issue. Anyhow, thanks for posting these details. It makes a lot of sense and gets us thinking about strategy.

Romney won. He had no

Romney won. He had no grassroots. I'm sure that the official campaign wanted volunteers in Oklahoma. The volunteers wanted to do something else.

In Maine, where we won, volunteers helped the state director, Eric Brakey, and we won.

That's how it's done. What I can grant is that the official campaign should be picking someone who volunteers can work with.

Uh, I am a bit concerned

Uh, I am a bit concerned about your perception of "Romney won." I find it concerning because most people on the DP know with all certainty that Romney "won" through dishonest and crooked means and by controlling and influencing the powerbrokers within the GOP, media, and government. Personally, I don't consider that the kind of "win" that proves anything about how our grassroots strategy should work. Perhaps you are suggesting that we don't need grassroots since Romney didn't need grassroots...just trying to decipher your argument. That would entail that our movement or the campaign have the connections, power, influence, funds, and corrupt philosophy with which to pull some Romney style power plays. On the other hand, we have something very powerful that all of Romney's dough and crooked cronyism can't buy - a loyal grassroots movement.

And I don't know about the inner details of Maine and its grassroots though your assertion has already been countered by the OP that there was good relations between the director and the grassroots unlike his state. However, clearly Maine has demonstrated to us that the Romney "win" was accomplished through corrupt influence over the state and national GOP/RNC....something that must be countered by the grassroots continuing to organize themselves to overtake the GOP positions throughout the local and state offices. I highly doubt that will be organized by the official campaign or a state director...so, again, it is critical that the grassroots evolve their own trusted network from the bottom up.

One very powerful observation I have of the grassroots in our movement is that it is both impossible to control or dismantle it (as happened with the T party) because it is so decentralized and truly consists of spontaneous groundswells of effort and loyalty. So try as he might...Romney just isn't going to accomplish commanding us to get behind him, because no one organization, entity, or director is going to mobilize the movement or any portion of it. So, it seems by your argument that all Romney would have to do is capture the Maine state director and that director only must tell his local grassroots to support Romney and they ought to just do what he says. See, that is the problem with that thinking...and with our kind of grassroots it just isn't going to work that way.
'

Steve Dickson's picture

Absolutely wrong.

Romney had the entire party establishment, including the Governor, on board. He did NOT win Oklahoma, Santorum did - with social conservative grassroots support. Oklahoma also had a block for Gingrich, in particular because JC Watts is one of his guys, and he is a former Congressman here (and Corporation Commissioner, and OU quarterback). Ron Paul should have beat both Gingrich and Romney here, if the campaign didn't do such a piss poor job.

The grassroots officially turned over leadership to the national campaign here:

http://ronpaulok.com/2012/02/23/ron-paul-organization-passin...

When the state RP chair started threatening people - women, and officials within the GOP - I CALLED FOR HIM TO RESIGN. Here you go:

http://mccarvillereport.com/archives/3287

The official campaign was sabotaged from within, and if you can't see that you are blind.

You refused to work with the official campaign.

Because you refused to work with Gerhart, the official campaign, the official campaign wanted nothing to do with you.

You don't get to pick the state director. The official campaign does.

When you send a letter saying you don't want the official campaigns state director there any more, you are going to piss off the official campaign.

This is not Gerharts fault. This is YOUR fault.

You actually, as official campaign, signed a letter saying that your boss should be removed. And you didn't think this was going to piss off the official campaign?

You really caused a truly disfunctional situation in Oklahoma.

You were told to get in to those meetings, and take them over.

"Thank you for setting up this meeting. I'm going to tell you what is going to happen now."

"No more superbrochures at official meetings like this. Would you like to be a delegate? Fill out this form. We will tell you who the delegates are later."

And just tell them what to do. That's what you should've been doing with the meetings in your area.

This was not something that happened over night...

We tried to suggest people to the Campaign as to who to put in the official position well before Mr. Gerhart was appointed. We warned the campaign that he would not be a good pick. We gave them other people to choose, who would be good picks. There's a lot of history to this.

This is all Mr. Gerhart's fault. To say that this has anything to do with the grassroots supporters of Dr. Paul, is something only someone who was not here in Oklahoma witnessing this could say.

Oklahoma had a VERY successful and functional situation for winning for Dr. Paul without Mr. Gerhart. Mr. Gerhart caused us to LOSE delegates. How the grassroots could've caused this "dysfunctional situation" is beyond me.

I'm not sure what your point is with "You were told to get in to those meetings, and take them over." The grassroots did all of that - going to county meetings, having coordinating meetings, going to district conventions, state convention, etc. But, Mr. Gerhart was not a part of that. Why? I don't know, but he never put anything together to do it.

-Qadoshyah Fish
Oklahoma Parking Lot Patriot
http://libertyliveblogteam.wordpress.com

No, I'm saying that YOU, the

No, I'm saying that YOU, the official campaign, should have gone to the Grassroots meetings, and told them what the official campaign plan was.

You don't get to pick the state director. You have to deal the state director. You follow his instructions. And people follow your instructions. That's how it works on political campaigns.

That's what mindless drones

That's what mindless drones do...

Thanks for bumping this

it's important that this story gets out so people realize what a joke Benton and Tate are.

It's also nice to see by the +'s and -'s on the comments that people are realizing this.

QFish, you did a great job of articulating...

what went on in Oklahoma. I too, felt that the Ron Paul campaign was not what it should have been. We were strong for Paul here in Minnesota, but we sure didn't get much in the way of signs, buttons, and bumper stickers.

The local grassroots people pretty much had to shell out for things to put out at county fairs. I contributed to the "money bombs" until I finally figured out that my money wasn't going to help my area. So I personally bought a case of Super Brochures for Ron Paul because they were so good and actually educated the people. At my own time and expense I hand addressed them with one helper and mailed them out to past delegates before our caucus.

Our caucuses were inundated with Ron Paul people. When I mentioned the Super Brochures to the paid Ron Paul field rep he pooh poohed the Super Brochures as not being that great. He mentioned that they had grammatical errors. Well, I have an English minor, and I didn't see any glaring grammatical errors.

So, I guess the lesson here is that the grassroots people do a much better job for their candidates than the paid campaign people at the top. Ron Paul had great people working for him in Minnesota, and our RP chairwoman is dynamite, but the National Campaign was sorely lacking.

Minnesota Mary

Thank you Minnesota Mary,

you all are amazing in Minnesota! I was there in Tampa and the Minnesota delegation was amazing :).

-Qadoshyah Fish
Oklahoma Parking Lot Patriot
http://libertyliveblogteam.wordpress.com

respect

I have great respect for all of you. Never blindly follow. You did the right thing in getting him removed. Government by the people is how it should be. If they don't consult locals they get to suffer the consequences.

I especially liked the parking lot convention where you voted to get rid of the committeman and committeewowan (or whatever they are called) and have committee people instead.

Let's see if I got this right.

GR: We have a large grassroots following in our county, what can we do to help?
Campaign HQ: GO AWAY-WE WANT NO GRASSROOTS PEOPLE!
GR: Can you tell us what we can do to help get Ron Paul elected?
Campaign HQ: GO AWAY-WE WANT NO GRASSROOTS PEOPLE!
GR: What can we do to help????
Campaign HQ: GO AWAY-WE WANT NO GRASSROOTS PEOPLE!

HOWEVER YOU WILL VOTE FOR THESE DELEGATES AND ONLY FOR THESE DELEGATES!

And people are saying the grassroots should have worked more closely with the official campaign????????
WTF!