Ron Paul Sweeps the 36th and 46th District Caucuses
Posted by Warren Peterson on March 19, 2012
In a display of organization, devotion and dedication, the Ron Paul campaign won all 21 delegates to the Washington State Republican Convention from the 36th Legislative District Caucus and all 20 in the 46th. The first test of strength came in both districts on the election of a permanent chair of the caucus. Generally, the legislative district chair acts as caucus temporary chair and is pro forma elected as permanent chair. In each district, the Paul campaign not only challenged the temporary chair but also took the highly unusual step of nominating a woman from outside the district. In the 36th they were successful and also initially in the 46th. However, a motion was made to revote for permanent chair in the 46th because of confusion regarding abstentions. While the new chair pondered the motion, a cell phone google found evidence she was a hard line Paul supporter and a question from the floor revealed she lived not in northeast Seattle’s 46th District, but (cue an audible gasp) Bellevue. The revote confirmed the temporary chair as the permanent caucus chair. It turned out to be a pyrrhic victory.
There were 96 people nominated for the 20 delegate positions allotted to the 46th District. The district chair (now also caucus chair) published a recommended slate consisting primarily of people who had volunteered their time on district work. There were at least two Paul supporters on the slate, a few undecided and the rest split between Romney and Santorum. Additionally, someone distributed a flyer addressed to the “Santorum, Gingrich, Paul Delegates” that attacked Romney and called for a brokered national convention. A third handout titled “Prolifers for State Delegate” listed ten names, all Paul people but not identified as such. Total non-Paul delegates out numbered Paul delegates so the purpose of the anti Romney and pro life material was to divide the opposition to Ron Paul. It worked. Two Paul delegates were elected on the first ballot, twelve more on the second, and four on the third. By rule, the fourth ballot would elect the final two delegates from four remaining names. This final ballot pitted the 46th District Chair and the 46th District Mitt Romney Chair against two Paul candidates; the Paulistas prevailed.
It was hardball politics won by the best coached team with unified members that stayed for the whole game. As the meeting wore on, many non-Paul people left but the Paul team hung in all six plus hours and swept the delegate elections. Eventually enough people left, some on purpose to force a quorum call, that the chair declared a lack of a quorum. He was sustained by a four vote margin and adjourned the meeting without electing any alternate delegates. Had alternates been elected, no doubt they would have gone to the Ron Paul team.
These two caucuses demonstrated the power of a dedicated minority to control an outcome. Were delegates selected by a primary election, the results would be similar to other states, few if any Paul delegates. It was also the opening battle in a war by the Libertarians to take over the Republican Party in King County and the State of Washington. I asked several Paul delegates if they would support the presidential nominee of the Republican Party? Their answers were the essence of equivocation. It will be a helluva war.