Betsy Woodruff at National Review last week revisited
how Ron Paul people are continuing to shape the Republican
Party, focused on Nevada.
The article is largely based on the perspective of one Nevada
activist, former party state vice chair James Smack, but worth a
read. After summing up how Party apparatchiks pissed off Paul
people by prematurely shutting down the state convention in 2008,
here’s the nub:
what [Smack] describes as “a conservative alliance” came
together. It was about 30 people, most of whom had been 2008
state-convention delegates. They didn’t all love Ron Paul, but they
all wanted more conservative candidates at the state and national
levels. Some came and went; some entered the group only after its
initial establishment. If one member found a project to work on, he
or she would call a meeting to rally the others.
It was like a conservative steering committee, adds Smack.
People pushed for the passage of resolutions and the election of
state party officers. After a couple of years, members of the group
had spread throughout party leadership in the state. The Nevada
Republican central committee started to skew conservative. Smack
himself rose to vice chairman of the state party and national
committeeman. Jim Wheeler, another member, won a spot as a state
assemblyman, and members of the group have grabbed county
chairmanships and the chairmanship of the state budget committee.
Diana Orrock, a Ron Paul supporter, became the national
committeewoman. And at the Republican National Committee’s winter
meeting last month, she introduced the anti-NSA resolution that
made national headlines as asignificant
change for the GOP.
The state central committee and the Nevada party are leaning
much more libertarian these days, she tells NRO. But she doesn’t
feel that’s the case for the party’s national officials. So there’s
an appetite for the kinds of primary challenges that make national
party leaders cringe.
And there’s not a lot of love among the new Nevada Republican
leadership for some of the GOP’s brightest stars.
The Nevada GOP will welcome “any and all presidential
candidates,” Smack says. But it will lean toward folks such as
Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and Congressman Justin
Amash. “It’ll be a little bit cooler reception for, say, Governor
Chris Christie or somebody of that nature.”
For the beginnings of this zany saga, see my book
Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He
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