Nevada is one of many state caucuses that is turning out to be quite successful for Ron Paul and for the GOP in general. Large numbers of youth and Hispanics are participating. Which bodes well for the future of the GOP. And the State Convention will be loaded with Ron Paul supporters duly elected at County Conventions. But the road to the State Convention has been littered with bodies of brave Ron Paul supporters, humiliated and denied of their right to vote or participate.
This is part of an ongoing report, exposing corruption and control by GOP establishment figures at the local level who have attempted to shut down the process and force their will on the majority. We will not forget the the brave souls who stood up to these bullies. And this column will continue to expose to the sunshine what happened at these meetings.
What follows is a report from Jennifer Kruger.
On March 9, 2012, I arrived at the Carson City Republican Headquarters office on Fairview and California Street, Carson City, Nevada, to file my delegate registration form and fee. I advised that I will not declare who I plan to vote for and did not believe that question was legal. Carol Howell said, in an extremely hostile and confrontational voice that the question is who we are voting for but who we are supporting. I advised that I cannot believe anyone would think that someone would support one man and vote for another, so the question is nothing but semantics.
At the same time, another gentleman named Ron P. was in the office and he too shared with me that he did not declare who he supports because of how the process went in 2008. He was speaking to me. However, as we were exiting the building, Carol shouted, “and how did the process go in 2008” in a tone that was challenging. He just kept walking and I was a little surprised at her continued hostility toward another fellow Republican.
On March 10, 2012, I arrived a little early for the Republican County Convention on Mallory Way, Carson City, Nevada, because this was my first time participating in the process and had an excitement to be involved. After checking in, I was directed to the table with the badges. I noticed a number of badges had a one to two inch strip of clear tape across the front, mine included. I did not understand why certain badges were marked with tape. There were no rips, tears or other purpose for the tape to be placed on the front of the badge. I was advised that I must keep my badge in full view at all times. Not understanding the significance of the tape, I removed it.
When I entered the room, I was provided with a printed copy of the agenda and directed to take my seat according to my precinct. I was seated in the very back of the room because of my precinct number being 301. I reviewed the agenda thoroughly and identified that the documentation indicated we would take elections of state delegates from the floor.
The male chairman, Bud I believe, asked for a nomination for the chairman of the day’s events. A nomination came for a Lori Baldwin, I believe. There was another nomination for someone named Carol but not sure of the last name. A man approached and made a motion to close the nominations and seconded the nomination for Lori. There was a vote and the issue was resolved. First of all, I sat as the President and Legislative Chair for a large association in Nevada and know that the rules do not allow someone, anyone, to summarily end nominations simply because they’ve made their personal choice. There was no request from the chair for a second on the nomination for Carol. It was simply dismissed and majority voted for Lori, who arrived on stage jumping up and down cheering like a school girl. She arrived well prepared with notes specific to the day’s events. It was quite clear she had the distinct expectation that she would receive the nod for the position without opposition (regardless of the nomination in opposition that was summarily dismissed with the wave of a hand).
After commencement of the meeting under Lori’s leadership and her motion to adopt the agenda, a gentleman, Mr. Davies, approached the microphone and inquired about calling question to an item on the agenda that appeared contradictory to the rules. The male chairman, who I believe is named Bud but was seated this time, stuck out his finger at Mr. Davies and yelled “this is NOT how this is done!” He did not have a microphone but I heard him very clearly and it was shocking to see such hostility towards a young man who had only a question. I had planned to question items myself, but this reaction was so shocking and, in combination with the treatment I received at HQ, I was very intimidated and thought I would likely sit quietly and observe. I did not wish to be publically humiliated as was the case with Mr. Davies. He was advised that he would have an opportunity to discuss the delegate elections when we arrived at that agenda item, regardless of the fact that that agenda item appeared to contradict rules.
The male chairman, again Bud I believe, discussed the platform and advised that after the platform is adopted then he would allow delegates to approach and discuss planks submitted to the committee but not found on the list. He then admonished that if anyone has issues with not having a plank on the list, it would be time consuming and “none of us want to be here all day”. I wrote that down. The platform was voted approved by the majority. Then, another gentleman (I did not get his name but he was recorded by the secretary) approached to discuss a plank he submitted that he did not see listed and he was told by the same chairman that we were not going to discuss these items and the platform was already approved and it was time to move on. He said that if he had problem with the platform, then he should have come to the committee meetings. He said he’d called around and no one showed an interest in participating. First of all, I distinctly heard him promise us an opportunity to speak on planks submitted and then listened to him deny someone that very opportunity. It was appalling. Then, he said they should have come to the committee meetings. I never received a phone call from anyone so I’m not sure who he was calling for participation but he didn’t call me.
At about this time, it was time to discuss the agenda item that appeared contradictory to the rules and Mr. Davies had appeared to have been escorted to another room just prior so he was absent during a part of the discussion. His attention was gathered and he quickly approached to discuss the item. He said, on microphone, that he believed dividing into precincts or other designed groups do not align with the rule that the delegates will be elected from the floor.
Now, this is where true hostility and unbelievable disrespect was at its peak thus far. All three seated individuals (one male and two female) yelled, out of turn, “it says MAY”. I sat forward in my chair to see what was happening at the table. Carol Howell, the lady from the HQ that had previously shown me disrespect, was the loudest voice I heard and she addressed Mr. Davies directly by stating it says “may elect delegates from the floor not must”. Lori, the chair, appeared to say something to them but I could not hear. She then told Mr. Davies that they were going to try to first elect from the floor. If they failed, they would move to an alternate method. Then, she did not at all appear to be prepared to do that. She started to discuss how the delegates should be elected based on who they declared they are going to vote for so that proportionate shares go to the candidates based on the caucus results.
There was a loud outrage from many individuals from the floor because this did not protect our rights to maintain secrecy in our vote. I was one of them. She muttered several times “how are we going to do this” and then after some shouts from the floor on suggestions of how to take elections from the floor she asked all delegates who planned to go on to state to stand up. There was a “count off” starting in the front with the number one. When we reached 76, she stopped and asked everyone to sit down. There were approximately 15-20 more delegates after 76 was reached. She said “this is exactly what I suspected. We have more delegates that delegate positions”. That being said, we had 78 delegates with an equal number of alternates. The simple solution was presented to Lori was that 15-20 delegates who were willing to be alternates be identified and the rest are elected as delegates without violating their rights by forcing them to declare who they support. Lori, again, summarily dismissed this suggestion and advised the crowd that they had already prepared for this turnout to be as it was and had four clipboards prepared for the four delegates. Each delegate would get their proportionate percentage of the 78 delegates (plus alternates) based on caucus results.
There was call for discussion. Many points were raised about how this was against the rules and inappropriate. It was voted by majority after Lori called a halt to any further discussion. A motion was made to amend the decision a second was shouted and Lori said (and I wrote this down) “No, we’re done. Go to your corners”. A delegate shouted to her, “what if I haven’t decided yet”, she said “you better pick one quick or sit down and don’t get elected”. I stood there shocked and outraged. I could not believe that my rights were being trampled. I had chosen not to declare who I supported and now I was being forced to do so against my will if I wanted any chance at all to go to the state convention.
I stood stunned for about five minutes. There was a delegate from my precinct, older lady whose husband is a Vietnam War Veteran with a disability, and she was so outraged, she refused to stand up and was nearly in tears over the way we were being treated.
I finally went to my corner for Ron Paul. There appeared to be more Ron Paul delegates and supporters in that corner than any other corner in the room. We had a clip board given to us that was typed up with 12 lines, numbered for our delegates and then below that, another 12 lines, numbered for our alternates. I saw the clipboard for another candidate’s corner and it had 34 (I believe) lines for delegates and same for alternates. It well planned, in advance that this would be the way we elected our delegates for state. I am speechless. After the other candidate’s corners were elected and disbanded, our group continued to negotiate from 50 to 12. Lori and other board members frequented our corner and told us to “get it done or we’ll do it for you” and “we don’t have all day, get it done”. We had only been there ½ hour. That’s not long considered we had only the second fewest delegates allowed with the largest representation of delegates wanting to go.
I heard a comment from another small group of my fellow Republicans that we are “whackos over in that corner” and I also heard the words “crazy” and “ridiculous” referring to the passion from the Ron Paul as well as other candidates’ supporters in demanding a process that was in alignment with the rules. I felt dirty. I have never in my life been referred to as crazy or a whacko nor disrespected on this level. I truly and firmly believe that the way the board members treated me and those who questioned the process set the stage and example that lead our fellow Republicans to treat us also with disdain. We were labeled outcasts and disparaging remarks continued until I left.
In summary, I was excited to be part of the Republican Party. I was excited to be involved at the caucus and to be elected a delegate. I am proud of my convictions and what I stand for. However, after the Republican County Convention, I felt sick, disgusted and humiliated. I know these folks in the community and I do business with many of them. The board and chair included treated me in such a way that I am personally and professional humiliated and embarrassed. My business associates now know who I am voting for and how the board feels about me and those who stand up like me. The board’s abuse of their power was unfathomable. I’ve been actively involved in professional boards over the decades and never, never saw such abuse. I cannot put into words any further how this was such a violation of the process. I pray for attention to this matter.