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.
Paul’s supporters pulled a repeat performance in 2012. Even though Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won the Nevada caucuses, Paul — who finished third — was able to game the system at the convention, and almost all of the state’s delegates to the national GOP convention in Tampa. There, a number of his supporters walked out of the proceedings after a decision to replace some of Paul’s delegates.
The 2012 caucuses were “a total disaster the way it was handled. It was an embarrassment for the state,” Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald told The Washington Examiner Friday.
Nevada wasn’t the only state to experience a Paul takeover. In Maine, Ron Paul supporters staged a coup at the state party convention, wresting away the gavel from Sen. Susan Collins.