Nevada: Why Ron Paul’s big showing in Nevada may have made it harder for Rand Paul to do the same | The Washington Post

Republican presidential politics in Nevada — a key early-voting state — have been chaotic in recent years, thanks in large part to former congressman and two-time GOP White House contender Ron Paul. Now his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is running for the office — and the state GOP may be making moves to guarantee the Paul family no longer finds Nevada to be lucky terrain. Nevada Republicans long generally picked a presidential favorite via primaries. In 2008, they held caucuses instead. Many Ron Paul voters showed up that day — but even more showed up at the state party’s convention months later. Paul’s supporters who flooded the gathering, looking to elect their candidate’s followers to represent the state at the national GOP convention. The state didn’t reschedule another convention, instead opting to choose delegates via conference call.

South Carolina: Could Open Primaries Close the Door on Graham in 2014? | State of Elections

A recent case out of South Carolina is drawing attention to the potential impact of open primaries on election results. South Carolina law does not require voters to formally register with a particular political party in order to cast a vote in a primary. A system in which voters can select the primary they wish to vote in regardless of party affiliation is called an open primary system.  Open primary systems sometimes draw criticism because they can allow voters to engage in so-called crossover voting.  Crossover voting occurs when members of one political party deliberately vote for a candidate they perceive to be weaker in an opposing party’s primary in order to give their candidate an advantage. It is important to note that voters in an open primary system do have to select only one primary in which to vote, so crossover voting naturally removes a voter’s opportunity to cast a ballot for the actual candidate of her choice in her own party’s primary.  Exit polls provide evidence that voters have crossed party lines during primaries in South Carolina. For example, despite South Carolina’s traditionally conservative electorate, nearly 30% of the voters in the Republican presidential primary in 2012 were either Democrats or Independents.  Further, nearly a quarter of the independents chose Ron Paul as their candidate of choice, rather than the eventual winner in the primary, Newt Gingrich.

National: 3 Electoral College members may pass on Romney | The Associated Press

At least three Republican electors say they may not support their party’s presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the next president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race. The electors — all supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — told The Associated Press they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states. They expressed frustration at how Republican leaders have worked to suppress Paul’s conservative movement and his legion of loyal supporters. “They’ve never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I’m disgusted with that. I’d like to show them how disgusted I am,” said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected as a Republican elector earlier this year. She said Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn’t just mimic the popular vote. The defection of multiple electors would be unprecedented in the last 116 years of U.S. politics. It also would raise the remote possibility that the country could even end up with a president and vice president from different parties.

National: FEC Reports Show Ron Paul Is Really Serious About Transparency – ProPublica

He may be in last place when it comes to delegates, but when it comes to filing expense reports with the FEC, Ron Paul beats everyone. His campaign’s hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical. Every bank fee, every 22 cents at a FedEx, every $1 toll on the Florida turnpike, every $5.09 pit stop at any Starbucks anywhere, every doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts and Dough Nutz — it’s all right there, itemized in the Paul campaign’s copious expenditure reports. In 160 instances so far, the campaign has reported purchases costing a single dollar or less. Last week, ProPublica examined the spending of the five presidential candidates and the major super PACs, identifying their 200 top payees.  But as part of digging into the more than $306 million spent through February, it was impossible to avoid the other end of the spectrum: The small bucks, if you will. The Paul campaign tracks every cent like no other, which Paul campaign officials say is deliberate. “We take the trust our donors place in us very seriously and are deeply committed to transparency and accuracy in our reporting,” wrote Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, in an email response to ProPublica.  Deeply, indeed.

Maine: Senate President Proposes Presidential Primary | MPBN

Maine’s Republican presidential caucuses were laced with controversy this year after candidates and voters charged that the entire process had been rigged to favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Many of the complaints stemmed from a decision by the state party’s hierarchy to exclude Washington County Republicans after a storm delayed a scheduled vote. Now a state senator from Washington County is advancing a bill that would give state party committees the option of holding a presidential primary instead of a caucus. Last month, Senate President Kevin Raye, a Republican from the Washington County town of Perry, was flabbergasted to learn state GOP party officials had declared Mitt Romney as the winner of a preferential poll without even considering the caucus votes of Washington County Republicans.

Missouri: St. Charles County Republicans embarrassed by caucus shutdown | St. Louis Today

St. Charles County Republicans were working to salvage their role in the primary process a day after a frustrating caucus meltdown that many said could have been avoided. St. Charles County was to have been the biggest prize on what was the most important day for Missouri Republicans hoping to help select their party’s nominee for president. Instead, Saturday’s St. Charles County caucus was shut down when tension flared between members of the crowd and the local GOP activists who were running the meeting. The meeting adjourned without awarding delegates — leaving county Republicans with unwelcomed scrutiny, and an uncertain role in the nominating process. Most likely, the caucus will be rescheduled, but when and in what form is unclear. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, because I don’t think this has ever happened before,” said St. Charles County Council member Joe Brazil.

Missouri: Raucous GOP caucus in St. Peters is shut down | St. Louis Today

Crowds and chaos rattled Missouri’s GOP caucuses on Saturday, threatening to put further scrutiny on a process that was already a national anomaly.
In St. Charles County, which was to have been the biggest single prize of the day, the caucus was shut down before delegates were chosen after a boisterous crowd objected to how the meeting was being run, including an attempted ban on videotaping. Two supporters of presidential hopeful Ron Paul were arrested. At other caucuses, participants gathered outdoors as the appointed locations turned out to be too small to accommodate crowds or waited for hours as organizers worked through procedural questions.

Maine: Republicans to recount caucus votes after protests from Paul supporters | The Hill

The Maine Republican Party is asking county and town chairman to resubmit vote totals from last week’s presidential caucuses after reports of missing and incorrect vote totals have thrown Mitt Romney’s narrow win over Ron Paul into question. A significant revision in the vote totals could be the second high-profile embarrassment for a state Republican party in the still-young campaign, after Iowa Republicans announced more than two weeks after their first-in-the-nation caucus that, in fact, Rick Santorum had defeated Mitt Romney. Romney had edged Santorum by eight votes in results released by the party on election night. “We are confirming the totals from the presidential preference straw poll,” an e-mail from the Maine GOP sent Thursday said, according to the Portland Press Herald. “Can you please email me the totals from your towns?”

Maine: State GOP adds missing caucus votes, but won’t release updated vote count | The Daily Caller

The Maine Republican Party has added additional votes accidentally omitted from Saturday’s caucus results, state party chairman Charlie Webster told The Daily Caller Wednesday. But those votes won’t be publicly released. “We don’t want any more drama,” Webster told TheDC. “I’ve already got death threats and 1,800 emails.” Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was declared the victor in Maine over the weekend, claiming a slim 194-vote lead over Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Editorials: Maine, Iowa Caucus Mishaps Prove It’s Time for a Better System | John Avlon/The Daily Beast

After the epic fail of Iowa’s caucuses—falsely naming Mitt Romney the winner for more than a month—now it looks like there’s trouble brewing in the Maine caucuses as well. Romney was named the narrow winner in Maine on Saturday over Ron Paul—gaining him a triumphant top-of-the-fold photo in the Sunday New York Times—but it now appears that several counties that held caucuses were not calculated in the “final” tally. According to the Bangor Daily News, there is growing pressure on the state GOP to reassess the votes and at least potentially declare a new winner. There’s got to be a better way to pick a presidential nominee.

Maine: Pressure mounting for GOP caucus reconsideration | Bangor Daily News

Pressure is mounting on the Maine Republican Party to reconsider its weekend declaration that Mitt Romney won the state’s caucuses, at least until all votes have been counted. The Maine GOP announced Saturday that Romney narrowly edged Ron Paul, 39 percent to 36 percent, in a non-binding presidential preference poll taken during the caucuses. The margin was fewer than 200 votes. A number of communities were not included in that poll because they had not held their caucuses by the deadline spelled out by the state party.

Maine: Ron Paul isn’t going to ask for Maine recount | USAToday

Ron Paul’s national campaign chairman says the GOP presidential candidate isn’t going to press for a recount in the Maine caucuses. Jesse Benton e-mailed to say that a recount is “irrelevant” because the Paul campaign believes the Texas congressman will end up with a “strong majority” of Maine’s 24 delegates when the dust settles over the caucus votes.  The Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday that the pressure is on for the state Republican Party to “reconsider” its declaration that Mitt Romney won the GOP caucuses when votes were announced Feb. 11.

Maine: Some in GOP want recount in Maine caucuses | The Portland Press Herald

Republicans are pressuring their party’s leaders for a recount of Mitt Romney’s narrow victory over Ron Paul in Maine’s closely watched Republican caucuses. And some say it may be time to get rid of Maine’s quirky process for selecting presidential candidates and switch to conventional primary elections – with voting booths and counting machines. “If we are to do a primary, we need to bring that up before the Legislature,” said Kim Pettengill, a Republican State Committee member representing Kennebec County. “I, for one, am going to see if we can do that, (and) I’ve talked to other people who feel the same way.”

Maine: Could Ron Paul Still Win Maine? |

Ron Paul’s campaign is claiming that it could still win the presidential preference poll in the Maine caucus because of a county that postponed its vote and will hold its caucus next Saturday, Feb. 18. On Saturday, the Maine Republican Party declared Mitt Romney the winner of the presidential preference vote, which he led by 194 ballots based on the caucuses that have been held so far. State Republicans said they considered the results of the straw poll final. However, Washington County, in the easternmost part of the state, postponed its caucus after a snowstorm was forecast there. The Washington County G.O.P. Chair, Chris Gardner, said his county would conduct the straw poll at its caucuses and will report the results to the state. All if this will be moot unless Mr. Paul is able to make up 194 votes in the county.

Maine: Paul backers, campaign cry foul over GOP caucus tally | The Kennebec Journal

The campaign of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters say the libertarian-leaning Texan was robbed of victory Saturday night when Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Maine Republican Party’s presidential caucuses. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul tosses balloons to supporters Saturday night at the Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland. His supporters and the Paul campaign say the cancellation of a local caucus meeting in Washington County robbed Paul of a victory over Mitt Romney. The Paul campaign says a local caucus meeting in Washington County that was canceled Saturday afternoon because of a snowstorm would have provided the margin of victory over Romney. But Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster is standing behind the results showing that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won the nonbinding presidential straw poll by 194 votes.

Editorials: Assessing the Minnesota Caucuses – Final Thoughts On Why It is Times to Scrap Them | Schultz’s Take

Minnesota’s February 7, political caucuses meant something this year…sort of. This year they were part of a trifecta of non-binding events that included the Colorado caucus and the Missouri primary that awarded no delegates but nonetheless had a significant media impact in rendering Rick Santorum a viable challenger to Mitt Romney.  In winning these three states the political world heralded that the party activists had again repudiated Romney.  Thus, Minnesota’s caucuses had a signal effect even if no delegates were awarded. But there are real problems with the caucus process in Minnesota and across the country.  Criticism of the Iowa caucus is growing as arguments are again mounted that it should not be first int nation since no delegates are awarded and its demographics are not representative of the country.

Nevada: GOP race turns to Nevada amid caucus turmoil |

This was supposed to be the Nevada GOP’s year of redemption, a chance for Republicans to have a prominent role in picking a challenger for President Barack Obama four years after bungling its first attempt to turn the state into a major player in presidential politics. But 2012 has not gone as planned. It’s now anyone’s guess as to how soon a Nevada victor will be declared after Saturday’s caucuses. Voting in all but one caucus – a special, late-evening one for Jewish voters in Clark County that is expected to draw fewer than 300 people – will end by 3 p.m. Pacific time. Most of Nevada’s counties will be through with voting by noon. But the state GOP doesn’t plan to release any results until 5 p.m., which could raise questions about the validity of the count.

New Hampshire: Second Place in New Hampshire Democratic Primary Goes to…Ron Paul?! | Huffington Post

We all know that President Obama won his party’s primary in New Hampshire. What you may not know is that Obama only won 79.5% of the vote. Second place in the New Hampshire Democratic primary went to Ron Paul, with 3.7%, Mitt Romney was third with 2.9% of the vote, and Jon Huntsman was fourth with 2.0%. Yes, you heard me right, Ron Paul came in second in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. And in case you are wondering, Barack Obama received 0.1% of the vote in the Republican primary.

Virginia: McDonnell and General Assembly lobbied to allow write-ins on presidential ballots | Washington Post

A coalition of tea party leaders and activists are lobbying the General Assembly and Gov. Bob McDonnell to change election law to allow write-in votes on the March 6 presidential primary ballot. Sen. Frank M. Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) introduced a bill last week that would change existing law to allow for write-ins in both primary and general elections. The groups are asking voters to sign petitions supporting the bill. In order for the bill to be effective March 6, it would require four-fifths of legislators to approve, which is unlikely to happen. Legislative leaders in both chambers say it’s not a priority. Only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) qualified for the Virginia ballot.

Illinois: Perry, Santorum could be knocked off Illinois ballot | Chicago Sun-Times

White House hopeful Rick Perry did not file correctly for the March 20 Illinois primary “beauty contest,” and some of rival Rick Santorum’s delegate slates are short of signatures, leaving them open to challenges that could knock them off the ballot. Illinois law requires candidates to file using their home addresses. Perry, the Texas governor whose candidacy may not survive through Illinois, used a post office box in Austin, Texas, for an address.

Virginia: Federal judge says to wait on Virginia GOP ballot | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A federal judge has ordered Virginia’s 134 local electoral boards not to mail out any ballots for the March 6 Republican primary until after a hearing Friday. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. also told the Virginia State Board of Elections to direct the local boards to refrain, to the extent possible, from printing ballots until the hearing on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency challenge can be held.

Editorials: Super PACs alter the dynamics of fundraising | The Washington Post

Well-established candidates have always had the edge in fundraising, but under the new rules governing money in politics, it looks as if the rich are just getting richer. The vast majority of the $14 million in spending from “super PACs,” a new type of political group, has been spent on behalf of three candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman Jr., federal records show. Those are the same three candidates already most reliant on money from large donors.

“It’s just proven to be a vehicle for getting around contribution limits,” said Michael Malbin, a scholar at the Campaign Finance Institute, which advocates for regulations encouraging small donors. “It’s made for people who’ve already maxed out.”

Two years after the Supreme Court decided the landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, it is becoming clear that the super PACs created under the new rules will act as a counterweight to a rise in online grass-roots fundraising. The online efforts, which tend to attract small donations, have been driving unconventional contenders in the GOP field, including Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). (Bachmann dropped out of the race last week after a sixth-place finish in Iowa.)

Illinois: Santorum, Gingrich get on Illinois Republican primary ballot |

Surprise Iowa caucus near-winner Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich filed Friday to secure spots on Illinois’ March 20 primary ballot, adding their names to those of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Perry.

On the last day to submit paperwork, Santorum filed only 41 candidates for national convention nominating delegates out of 54 possible slots among the state’s new 18 congressional districts. Perry, the Texas governor, filed only one delegate candidate. Romney, Paul and Gingrich filed full elected-delegate slates. Not making the ballot or filing delegate candidates was former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has made a strong showing in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary a priority.

Hawaii: Republican Party changes caucuses in hopes of gaining more members | KHON2

Republican voters here in Hawaii will begin choosing their Presidential nominees in March. The Hawaii Republican Party made changes to this year’s Caucuses, hoping to attract more people to vote GOP. It’ll be very similar to the Democratic Caucuses in 2008, which as you may recall had a record turnout.

The Hawaii Republican Party will hold its Presidential Caucuses on Tuesday, March 13th from 6pm to 8pm. “Everyone goes, votes. At 8pm they’ll close, count the ballots and the votes will be allocated to a proportional method to each of the Presidential candidates they vote for,” said David Chang, Hawaii Republican Party Chair.

Editorials: Solving the problem of Virginia’s restrictive primary rules by allowing for write-in candidates | Slate Magazine

Intelligent life exists beyond Iowa, and even beyond New Hampshire. Before the Republican Party crowns its nominee, voters from other states should and will be heard. Or will they? According to Virginia law, many a lawful voter will not be allowed to vote for the candidate she truly favors on the day of the Virginia primary—March 6, to be precise. So far, no one seems to have highlighted this gaping flaw in the Virginia election code.

Virginia’s ultra-strict ballot-access laws, whose obstacle course kept every Republican presidential candidate off the ballot except Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, were challenged last week by Rick Perry’s legal team and supporters of Newt Gingrich. Last Friday four other GOP candidates signed onto Perry’s legal challenge as well.

Virginia’s ballot-access rules are indeed extreme, but it’s hard to say, as Perry’s lawyers are contending, that these rules are unconstitutional. Governments are allowed to print official ballots, and as long as they are in this business, surely they may choose to list only the names of the major candidates. Short lists plausibly promote democracy by making it easy for the ordinary voter to find and vote for his preferred candidate.

Editorials: Virginia’s primary failure | The Washington Post

If the aim of Virginia was to host a presidential primary that no one cared about, it seems to have succeeded. Only two candidates — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) — qualified to appear on the ballot, and many voters may be discouraged by a foolish loyalty oath requirement by the Republican Party. It’s too late to change the requirements for access to the 2012 ballot, but a priority of the returning General Assembly should be to review a primary system that has so little regard for the interests of voters.

The failure of former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to qualify for the March 6 primary has renewed scrutiny of the state’s cumbersome laws governing ballot access. Seen as among the nation’s most stringent, the Virginia rules demand that a candidate collect 10,000 voter signatures, an unusually high number, with additional requirements on how they can be collected, where and by whom. Clearly, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry, who has gone to court in a bid to get his name on the ballot, must accept responsibility for not gathering the requisite number of names; the rules are well known and have been in place for years.

Editorials: Tuesday’s Other Election | Mother Jones

Tuesday is shaping up to be a big day in the world of politics. In Iowa, Republican caucus-goers officially kick off the 2012 presidential election cycle at 1,774 precincts across the state. In Egypt, voters in nine of the country’s 27 governorates head to the polls in the third and final round of elections for the first People’s Assembly to convene since last winter’s revolution.

At first glance, the contests couldn’t be more different. Egyptian voters will cast their ballots against a backdrop of continuing political instability and a volatile security environment. In Iowa’s gymnasiums, libraries, and churches, the greatest disruptions might well come from a handful of rowdy Ron Paul supporters.

But dig a little deeper, and one finds some uncanny parallels. If democracy really is God’s gift to the world, He’s infused it everywhere with His own quirky sense of humor. Here are a few to look out for as the first voting of the new year gets underway.

Virginia: Attorney General changes mind, won’t intervene in primary ballot case | The Washington Post

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) announced Sunday that he has reconsidered his decision from Saturday and will not seek to get several GOP presidential candidates added to the state’s primary ballot. Every candidate except Mitt Romney and Ron Paul failed to meet the stringent requirements to get on the ballot for the state’s March 6 primary, and Cuccinelli said Saturday that he would seek to get them added to the ballot.

But in a statement Sunday, he reversed course and said he would seek a change in the requirements for future elections only. In the end, Cuccinelli said trying to make immediate changes wouldn’t be fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns.

Virginia: Republican candidates may get another shot at Virginia ballot for Super Tuesday | The Washington Post


The slate of Republican presidential hopefuls who did not qualify for the Virginia primary might get another shot. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II plans to file emergency legislation to re-open the process to GOP candidates. Virginia’s process has come under fire since it was announced last week that only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) had qualified for the ballot.“Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient,” Cuccinelli (R) said in a statement Saturday. “Virginia owes her citizens a better process. We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly.”


Neither Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, former senator Rick Santorum nor former House speaker Newt Gingrich submitted the 10,000 signatures required to get a spot on the state’s ballot in time for Super Tuesday. According to news reports, Cuccinelli’s plan would allow candidates who qualify for federal matching funds to go onto the state’s ballot. Perry’s campaign filed a lawsuitmaintaining that he was unable to submit the required signatures because of the state’s “requirement that all petition circulators be an eligible or registered qualified voter in Virginia.”

Editorials: Virginia: If it’s wrong to exclude Gingrich and Perry, can they get on ballot? |

Mitt Romney is having fun with Newt Gingrich’s inability to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, likening him to Lucille Ball in the famous episode of “I Love Lucy” where she can’t keep up with a conveyor belt of chocolates. “You’ve got to get it organized,” Mr. Romney chided Tuesday in New Hampshire. But to Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker and a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, the ballot failure is no laughing matter.

He also has influential Virginians who agree that it was wrong to exclude Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry from the March 6 Virginia primary. Each had submitted more than the required 10,000 signatures, but on Dec. 24, state election officials deemed that they did not have enough valid signatures to qualify.

Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are the only two candidates to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot. Other major contenders, such as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, did not attempt to collect the necessary signatures.