Ron Paul's supporters were expecting a big win in Ron Paul-friendly Nevada. If Ron Paul had continued on his trend of doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling each state-by-state primary election result over what he got in 2008, the Texas Congressman-- who received 6,087 votes in Nevada in 2008-- would have easily trounced Newt Gingrich's second place haul of 6,956 this year, and would have even been in play for first in Nevada, beating out Mitt Romney's 16,486 first place haul.
Yet surprisingly, especially after four years of non-stop organization in Nevada since 2008, heavy ad buys, and a campaign that concentrated large amounts of staff and money on Nevada's caucuses, Ron Paul's campaign turned up empty-handed with a close third place win of just 6,175-- barely more than the conservative candidate won in 2008. The numbers also don't jive at all with claims made by the Paul campaign's staff in Nevada. Here's what his state chair had to say:
"We have more IDs than Romney had votes in '08," said Paul's state chairman, Carl Bunce, meaning identified supporters who have committed to attend Saturday's caucuses across the state. He wouldn't give a precise number, but Romney's 2008 vote total in his big Nevada win was 22,649.
So, the chair of the Paul 2012 campaign in Nevada claimed ahead of the election results that his organization had identified more than 22,000 supporters who were committed to attend Saturday's caucuses and vote for Ron Paul, but Paul only received 6,175 votes? Something isn't right here, and given all the irregularities of the Nevada caucuses, Ron Paul supporters justifiably smell a rat.
No, this isn't some crackpot speculation by a bunch of snot-nosed libertarians on the Internet; even sources in the mainstream media have picked up on, and quietly reported the irregularities that happened in Nevada, and even interpreted them in light of irregularities in Iowa (which recently announced it got the results wrong on election night) and South Carolina where apparently, dead people are voting.
Here's what NPR has to say:
Move Over, Iowa, Nevada Has A Caucus Problem Too
Imagine this: You're the Super Bowl host city, and you've gone to a lot of trouble to get the big game in your town. Now everyone's watching as the game comes to an end, and you can't get the scoreboard to work. Suddenly no one's sure who's ahead or how much time is left to play.
That nightmare scenario probably could not happen. But we have seen some highly improbable events lately that embarrassed the host states in the presidential nominating process.
Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn resigned this week, taking the hit for the botch that was made of the caucus count in his state last month. Mitt Romney was initially declared the winner, then told he had finished second by 34 votes behind Rick Santorum. But the party admitted it was not really sure, and some votes might be missing. Ouch.
Take the Republican caucuses in Nevada this weekend. Most of the community meetings at more than 100 sites were held in the morning or early afternoon and had their tallies in by evening. But no official results were released for hours, and the official count went on well into the night.
Why? There appeared to be delays from Washoe (Reno) County and a few other venues. But the main holdup was in Clark (Las Vegas) County, home to more than 60 percent of the Republican vote. Clark had said it would hold its release until its last caucus site reported, and at one point the state GOP said it would not release data either.
The article ends by noting that of the nominating events we've had in 2012 so far, most of the controversy, confusion, and funny business has happened in the two that were caucuses. That is absolutely correct and it's especially interesting because Ron Paul's entire campaign strategy has been focused on winning these key, early caucuses in states where ad buys are less expensive and a more focused, energetic base of support can win the day. But instead of Paul victories, we're seeing shady business.
The Las Vegas Sun reports:
Nevada GOP dealing with ‘trouble box’ of questionable ballots
Republican Party officials are trying to figure out how to deal with a “trouble box” of ballots from the presidential caucus Sunday as the count in Nevada’s largest county stretches into its second day.
Party officials have confirmed that ballots in multiple precincts exceeded the number of voters who signed in. The “trouble box” also includes ballots on which two candidates were marked and other irregularities.
David Gallagher, executive director of the state party, could not confirm or even give a rough estimate of the number of ballots in question.
“It’s a small number,” he said.
Party officials spent much of the morning in a closed-door meeting with campaign officials to discuss the process for counting the ballots and determine what to do with the ballot box.
Then there's this from The San Francisco Chronicle:
Why Nevada’s GOP caucuses were a jackpot of embarrassments
Nevada state GOP chair Amy Tarkanian boasted this week that her state will turn Republican in the next presidential election. Not likely if her state GOP runs that show like it ran the Nevada caucuses, which were an embarrassing display of bad planning and execution on multiple levels.
Aside from the scheduling, the choice of caucus locations, and the decision to shut out thousands of workers on the Las Vegas strip which we’ve detailed here, let’s now clue you all in on the litany of other problems:
Read the rest at The San Francisco Chronicle.
And if you have time to wade through it, here's one blogger's blow-by-blow account of the vote count in Nevada, and it just doesn't feel right at all. Now there isn't a smoking gun in all of this (yet?), but there is enough to raise some serious questions and warrant investigation by journalists, party members, and campaign officials. Something just isn't adding up.
Editor in Chief, THL
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