(UPDATED) Ron Paul’s Unnecessary Black Eye In the Louisiana Caucus
Update: Scroll to the bottom for an email I got from Chad Rogers, as well as a message from Austin Stukins, the Louisiana Grassroots Coordinator for the Newt Gingrich campaign.
It’s not a surprise that Ron Paul is walking away from Saturday’s Republican caucus with the lion’s share of delegates, but the lengths that his supporters in Louisiana went through to give the national party’s establishment candidate a giant middle finger is disconcerting and unnecessary to boot.
Paul is poised to head into the state convention in Shreveport on June 2 with delegates in all six of Louisiana’s Congressional Districts composed almost entirely of his people. He was mostly likely going to carry the convention anyway—the zealotry of the Texas congressman’s fans is legendary. Since Romney has the Republican presidential nomination wrapped up at this point in the game and other major contenders have dropped out of the race, the Paul-or-nobody crowd were sure to carry the day.
The delegates that the Louisiana Republican Party chooses will be shipped out to Tampa, Florida for the national convention held during the last week of August—meaning there will be that many more Paulites friending each other on Facebook to bitch about Romney being picked as the presidential nominee after the convention. That’s about the most that will come from his victory in Louisiana, truth be told.
This being said, I have to admit that I have gotten something of a dark pleasure seeing Paul supporters thumbing their noses at the establishment candidate throughout the nominating process. Romney has been the peas that momma has been forcing us to eat, while Paul has been the libertarian pie on the table. He’s tempted me, as well, but his views on foreign policy aren’t very palatable and I believe that he would go down in flames in the general election to Obama. I have eaten the Romney peas like a good boy. Getting Obama off the table is my primary concern. It would be nice to just feed Obama to the dog under the table, but I hear that works the other way around.
Paul supporters seem hellbent on seeing their guy pulling off the upset of the ages by packing the national convention with enough delegates to wrest the nomination from Romney. It’s just an Internet fueled wet-dream and it isn’t going to happen.
To the chagrin of the Romney camp, Paul supporters have clinched the Louisiana delegation, which was augmented by this flier:
It was created by Chad Rogers, proprietor of The Dead Pelican, and was handed out by Paul supporters at the caucus as a voter guide.
The problem is that what it was really guiding voters toward was caucusing for Paul. The official Paul slate was “7”, but slates 1, 4, 6, 8 and 9 were comprised of the same delegate candidates.
Here is a little breakdown from a Times Picayune article on the fracas following the caucus:
Slate 1, composed entirely of Paul supporters, bore the “Romney: Believe in America” campaign logo and was identified as the Republican Unity Slate. The guide stated, “Voters for this slate will accrue more unbound delegates and alternates for Mitt Romney at the 2012 National Convention.” Why that was true was not explained.
Slate 2, which was originally the Gingrich slate, was also identified as “Undecided/Unknown” with the explanation, “It may be best defined as a formerly pro-Gingrich and now pro-Romney slate of delegates who wish they could be uncommitted forever.”
Likewise, Slate 3, which originated as an uncommitted conservative slate that would have been available to Santorum, was similarly dismissed as “a formerly pro-Santorum now pro-Romney slate of delegates who wish they could remain uncommitted forever.”
Slate 4 was identified as “Citizens Against Traffic Cameras” and didn’t name a preferred candidate.
The guide identified Slate 6, bearing the Santorum and Gingrich campaign logos and a red, white and blue elephant logo, as the “Republican Unity Slate,” and said, “Voters for this slate will accrue more unbound delegates and alternates for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum supporters at the 2012 National Convention,” again with no explanation as to why that would be.
Slate 8 was identified as “Pro-Faith Pro-Family Pro-Freedom,” without mentioning a specific candidate.
Slate 9 was identified as the “Stop Agenda-21 Tea Party” slate and suggested, “Vote for this slate if you’d like to see delegates focus on inserting language protesting the United Nations Agenda-21 program in both the state and national party platforms.”
There are Republicans who are characterizing this as voter fraud—a little bit of hyperbole. It doesn’t reach that level, but it is deceptive and Paul supporters didn’t really need to go there. They worked overtime to give their guy a good showing in the Louisiana Republican caucus and a stunt like this clouds their efforts.
It’s a shame that it had to come to this, as some Republicans are now calling for the resignation of state party leaders, and recriminations for Charlie Davis, who runs Paul’s campaign in Louisiana and who’s a former Executive Director of the Louisiana GOP. There is also a boycott of The Dead Pelican underway. The Pelican is an important clearing house for news in Louisiana that makes my job a lot easier and I won’t be boycotting it. I doubt many other Pelican readers will be either. There is no great fidelity to the national Republican establishment in this state, as Rick Santorum’s victory in the Louisiana Republican Primary demonstrated.
Louisiana Republicans, however, like folks to play fair and the way in which Paul delegates won gives both their guy and the caucus selection process a black eye. It didn’t need to happen that way.
Update: I thought that is was only fair to let Chad respond to this controversy. Here’s what he had to say in an email to me in response to one I sent him earlier giving him a heads up that I was going to address the matter on The Hayride.
I wouldn’t publish a private message without permission, which he has given me:
Tom, think about what you just wrote.
By your own admission, the Ron Paul people had the caucus wrapped up. They didn’t need the help of my flyer.
That doesn’t seem to be Austin Stukins’ version of the story. His version of the story, as I read it, seems to be that Romney (Newt? Santorum?) had the election in the bag until I hoodwinked those poor innocent caucus voters into voting for Ron Paul.
Is that not what he and many others are suggesting? If so, are they being honest? Remember, the people accusing me of spreading misleading information are acting like Ron Paul won because of my voter guide.
So, they are claiming that my flyer is deceptive.
Which part of the flyer? Well, that seems to change from week-to-week.
The latest version of the story (I think) is that I presented misleading information about slate number one.
Last week, they said I was presenting misleading information about slates number 2 and 3.
I said that slates two and three were cutting a deal with Mitt Romney. Laura O’Halloran said that I was lying. I posted her email here.
In the email, O’Halloran claimed that her slate was committed to Newt Gingrich- unless he were to drop out.
Here’s the quote:
Since Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign, the Louisiana Conservative slate #3 will be supporting Newt Gingrich as of now. If Newt drops out of the race this week, I will keep you apprised of the changes to the slate. CONTRARY TO THE RON PAUL CAMPAIGN, WE ARE NOT SUPPORTING MITT ROMNEY, NOR MAKING ANY DEALS WITH HIS CAMPAIGN. Many Tea Party activists are on the LA Conservative slate and joined it in order to NOT support Ron Paul OR Mitt Romney.
IF NEWT drops out? Really? As I read her piece, she was suggesting that there was some doubt about Newt’s inevitable exit.
Is it completely honest for her to suggest that Newt might NOT drop out?
Even as she was writing that email, there was little doubt that Newt was going to drop out, but she was acting as though he might remain in the race.
Moreover, O’Halloran was denying that a deal was being cut between her slate and the Romney slate.
Well, days later, a report surfaces in the Times Picayune claiming that a deal was being worked out between slates two and three and Romney’s people. In other words, they were confirming what I had previously written, and O’Halloran claims that I had lied about. More on that can be found here. Again, I am citing a Times Picayune report:
Slate 5 originated as a Romney slate, however, Scott Sewell, who is directing the Romney effort in Louisiana, negotiated with Slates 2 and 3 so that they would include some Romney folks and he would make room for some Gingrich and Santorum folks on 5. Sewell said the Romney campaign is perfectly happy to have the convention delegation reflect Santorum's victory in the primary, and to include backers of Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, as well. Sewell said the Santorum and Gingrich backers in Louisiana are amenable, but the Paul people are not. ... In the 2nd Congressional District, among those appearing on Slates 2, 3 and 5 are former Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, Bryan Wagner and Winnie Brown. In the 1st District, candidates on Slates, 2, 3 and 5 include Michael Bayham, a leading Santorum supporter, Romney loyalist Shane French, Jefferson Parish President John Young, Suzanne Terrell and Polly Thomas. The only individual on Slate 2 who is not also on Slate 3 is former Rep. Bob Livingston.
It appears as though there was ample evidence to back up what I was saying about slates two and three. It seems as though a deal was being cut with O’Halloran’s slate, yet she accused me of of lying about it in an email that was sent out to a tea party mailing list.
Now, this is the part where someone will tell me that this woman had no business speaking for the rest of her slate. Well, guess what? SHE DID speak for the rest of her slate, and she was did it rather publicly. I had proof of this, and I published it, yet no effort was made to call her out or correct anything that she said.
In short, it appears as though many of the people accusing me of spreading misleading information are NOT being completely honest themselves.
I’m being accused of dishonesty by people who don’t seem to be very honest themselves.
And this from Austin:
Well folks, since I have been mentioned here, and accused of being a liar, allow me to clarify.
I am the Louisiana Grassroots Coordinator for Newt Gingrich’s campaign. I took issue with the fact that our logo and Senator Santorum’s logo were placed on the flier endorsing slate number 6.
Now, I was there the day slate numbers were issued, and knew that our campaign paid to sponsor the individuals identified as conservatives affiliated with the Louisiana Conservative Delegation.
Many of our supporters had affiliated themselves with the LCD many months ago, and remained on board with the LCD. Our campaign sponsored that delegation, and in turn was given a slate number in exchange for a financial contribution to the party.
The way this would have worked is that any person who voted for the Official Gingrich Slate (Slate 2) would be a vote cast for the Louisiana Conservative Delegation (Slate 3).
The same thing occurred for slate 6, being a vote for slate 7 (in this case, both purchased by Ron Paul’s State Chairman)
Furthermore, a simple query of the LAGOP would have provided that Ross Little was overseeing the Louisiana Conservative Delegation, and that Romney’s Campaign was sponsoring slate 5.
In addition to that, it was no secret that Ron Paul’s State Chairman, Charlie Davis, paid for the rest of the slates (read between the lines there).
Honestly, the results are what they are, Ron Paul turned out supporters at the caucus, and they won. The impact is one that our party will suffer from a conservative standpoint. I take issue with the misleading information in that flier.
A caucus-goer who was headed to vote for Pro-Romney or Pro-Santorum candidates could have easily been misled by the information disseminated. My supporters received emails right up to the caucuses informing them that they should vote for slate number 2.
The principle of the matter – is a matter of principle, the information disseminated was incorrect, and any person in the field of “Journalism” should act with responsibility and integrity. That means getting your facts straight, and if you make a mistake, you correct it by retraction.
As a contributor to The Hayride, I was always told by Scott McKay, that I don’t care what you choose to write about, as long as you have your facts straight; of course I’m paraphrasing, but nevertheless, we should demand responsible journalism as the world continues to rely more and more on sources such as the Dead Pelican and The Hayride for updates on current events.
With all that being said, Chad Rogers should never question my integrity, EVER again. I am a man of honor and integrity. With eight years of faithful service to my country, having led Marines in combat, I pride myself on the Corps Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Therefore I will stand by my honor, with courage in the face of adversity, and remain committed to boycotting the Dead Pelican until Mr. Rogers renounces that sort of misleading behavior, and vows to adhere to a sense of Journalistic integrity as other Journalists do around the world. If you want to be the face of internet news in Louisiana, I’m certain Louisiana would appreciate honesty and truthfulness as seen here at The Hayride.