The Objective Conservative blog, from some anonymous neighbors on the other side of the political spectrum, is reporting that Ron Paul supporters are attempting to take over the Nebraska Republican Party's State Central Committee and its delegation to the 2012 Republican National Convention. Apparently, they've already had some success in Sarpy County.
Here's what the OC has to say (with select emphasis added):
On Thursday May 31, we took note of the effort by the Ron Paul folks to hijack the Nebraska Republican Party county and state conventions (Ron Paul Still Seeking Nebraska Convention Delegates), the ultimate aim being to send as many Paul delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa as they can. Based on the Sarpy County Republican Convention on Saturday, it appears that the Paul delegates are well organized and on track to do exactly what we've suggested.
Virtually all of the members elected to the state central committee on Saturday were Ron Paul delegates. Virtually all those selected as delegates and alternate delegates to the state convention where national convention delegates are chosen were Ron Paul supporters.
In Sarpy County it was clear that the Paul supporters were well organized. They had slates on their phones and a few paper ones. They knew whom they were to nominate and vote for for each elected position. Some even cast more than one vote which required at least one caucus to have to vote several times. Even the very conservative Nebraska State Senator Jim Smith could only be elected as an alternate delegate to the state convention!
What are the ramifications of this? First and foremost, we suspect that Governor Heineman, Mitt Romney's State Chairman, is going to be highly embarrassed if the Nebraska delegation in Tampa casts the majority of its delegate votes for Ron Paul rather than Mitt Romney. Given the results from Sarpy County, the organization in Douglas County (which holds its convention next Saturday) and across the state (see below) we fully expect that will, indeed, happen.
Secondly, Governor Heineman is the titular head of the Nebraska Republican Party. It appears likely that the party central committee will be governed by Ron Paul folks for the next two years and it appears that while the governor has anointed Mark Fahleson, Darlene Starman and Brian Buescher to become the party's leadership that, in fact, the Paul folks may very well have the ability to elect their members to control the party in defiance. The state party has already had a difficult time raising money. Having it controlled by the Ron Paul folks would virtually dry up all contributions from so-called 'establishment' donors and put the state party's finances, assets and ability to elect candidates this fall at risk. In what was likely to be a leadership election that was challenged anyway (one other non-anointed female has started soliciting votes for national committee woman position), it appears that there will be a leadership slate for the national committee seats as well.
For the last several years, the State Republican Party has been poorly financed and supported and shown little or no organization or concern about dealing with the Ron Paul folks or any organizational issues. The inattention to these issues may very well come home to roost and the embarrassment for it will fall at the feet of Governor Heineman and current party leadership.
Definitely some interesting stuff. The post goes on to include an e-mail from the Ron Paul-supporting Republican Liberty Caucus setting up planning meetings and conference calls in preparation for the NEGOP county conventions taking place across the state the first 10 days of June. Nebraska Democrats hold their county conventions at the same time, but there's been no word of comparable intrigue.
Objective Conservative is probably our state's best source for covering internal Republican Party politics. I suspect they're exercising some degree of alarmism to wake up the party's establishment figures and get them to mobilize in the remaining counties and to protect the status quo at state convention.
However, I'm not entirely convinced that the GOP "establishment" perceives the same threat from Paul's supporters. Throughout the 2012 presidential primary, there were signs of collaboration and shared interest between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Rather than being ostracized, the Paul-supporting Republican Liberty Caucus actually hosted our state's first Senate debate back in February. Then, there's the Heineman administration's mysterious hiring of two inexperienced leaders of the Paul campaign's Young Americans For Liberty as the state's chief policy analysts implementing health care reform.
Do all these things connect? Maybe not, but it certainly doesn't appear our local Republian leaders (besides one blog) are doing anything to squelch Paul's particular brand of extremism in our state.
Of couse, these inner party conflicts are easily blown out of proportion. But, the establishment players in state politics have grown increasingly indistinguishable from those in the Republican Party. A threat to that status quo would have reverberations far beyond this year's convention season, so this could all be worth keeping an eye on in the weeks and months ahead.