In a shockingly brazen power trip, the national GOP has sent a threatening letter to Nevada Republicans demanding that they show support for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at their state convention this weekend.
The Nevada Republican Convention is the highest legislative body of the state's Republican Party and the desultory letter seeks to challenge that autonomy. In the letter, Republican National Committee Chief Counsel John R. Phillipe, Jr., introduces a new way of thinking that entitles former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to, in essence, veto the election of delegates that he is unhappy with. The text of the letter can be read here.
The letter, dated May 2, was addressed to newly-elected Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and ended on a paternalistic tone in which it threatened to strip all of Nevada's delegates: "I believe it is highly likely that any committee with jurisdiction over the matter would find improper any change to the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates thus jeopardizing the seating of Nevada's entire delegation to the National Convention."
This letter points to a possible bias against Texas Congressman Ron Paul among the national Republican leadership and comes on the heels of strong Paul finishes over the last two weeks in Louisiana, Minnesota, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
Las Vegas-based journalist John Ralston commented.
"Clearly the RNC fears that mischief at the Sparks convention this weekend could result in Ron Paul delegates taking Mitt Romney slots and then not abiding by GOP rules to vote for the presumptive nominee in the first ballot in Tampa. So they are trying to force McDonald to ensure the actual Romney delegates fill 20 of the 28 national convention slots, thus removing any question of who they will vote for."
Republican voters aren't moved. An unnamed Republican voter commented Thursday: "The beautiful thing about our party is that it's decentralized. The county parties can do what they want and the state parties can do what they want. This guy's dreaming if he thinks he has a prayer influencing any decent Republican. Ron Paul's not my first choice, but if some DC lawyer thinks I'm [going to] side with him over a decent guy like Paul, he doesn't know Republicans very well ... Mind your own business, D.C."
Such pressure tricks are unlikely to work in a state like Nevada where Ron Paul supporters were rebuffed at the state convention four years ago after winning congressional district votes for Nevada delegates. GOP officials went so far as to turn off the lights in a windowless room as a method of adjourning the state convention. Instead of going home and sulking, Paul supporters fought back. Four years later, the GOP old guard is still feeling the blowback from 2008 as Ron Paul supporters have succeeded in influencing the party at almost all levels of government and removing the old guard from party positions statewide.
The Nevada Republican Convention is scheduled May 4-5 in Sparks, Nevada.