Stolen slate of Clarke County delegates disqualified, removed from state GOP convention...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2012, 10:42am PT  

The mainstream media doesn't much seem to be noticing as they chew their cud over and over about Romney Bain this and Obama Birther that, in endlessly looped (non-)"news" cycles, but things are looking pretty good for supporters of Ron Paul these days.

At least in as much as the Paul folks seem to be doing one helluva job of deliberately taking over their party from the inside through a seemingly very smart and certainly persistent and definitely well-organized strategy of taking over local district, county and state party conventions (and even party executive positions), all while seeing to it that Paul delegates get nominated to the Republican National Convention in state after state in the bargain.

What will come of all of those delegates once we get to Tampa remains to be seen. But make no mistake, they will be there and in force, and likely not shy about exercising the same strong (small "d") democratic voice that got them there in the first place. Whether the corporate media has figured out that all of this is newsworthy yet is a different matter. (My bet is that it is.)

But while the persistence of the Ronulans may be paying off with both short and long term political dividends, the democratic process they are participating in itself is also seeing a number of victories, as evidenced by at least one comeuppance to GOP establishment types in the state of Georgia, where we now have a happy-ish ending to a story we reported on earlier this year.

The latest good news resulted in one of the players offering a remark we don't often hear from inside the Republican Party --- at least not by folks who mean it: "This decision re-affirms the party's commitment to fair, open and honest elections"...

Power Paulitics

In a recent blog item, senior Paul strategist Doug Wead detailed many of the outrages and dirty pool that Paul supporters have been up against while taking on the GOP establishment in state after state. Nonetheless, they seem to be winning a lot of delegates and a number of powerful organizational and executive spots at the local district, county and state GOP level to boot.

"The delegate strategy is working," wrote Wead. "That is the way we will impact the platform in Tampa. That is the way we will begin the process of change."

Last night, TPM reported that a number of high-ranking officials in the Nevada GOP have stepped aside in the wake of Paul supporters having "dominated a March county convention to take 13 of 14 of executive board spots and performed similarly at the state convention, securing 22 national delegates to Romney’s three."

The news suggests the establishment is worried, and they probably should be. The Paul supporters in Nevada, for example, recently "passed a resolution calling for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to resign" and a "shadow state party" there has been created in response by the former establishment out of fear that the Paul folks will "derail Romney’s presidential campaign with ongoing efforts to hand the nomination to Paul," according to TPM. They report there are now growing concerns "of an ugly feud spilling out at the national convention, where Paul supporters are expected to have a large and visible presence thanks to similar state convention takeovers around the country."

What these relentless folks are doing --- and the nightmares they may be causing for establishment GOP types --- is otherwise known as "democracy". Some of the GOP muckety-mucks who have tried to stamp out how democracy is supposed to work inside the party over the past several months may wanna look up the word before they find themselves entirely on the outside looking in.

Democratic Republicans

In mid-March, we reported on some of the early --- and ugly --- pushback that Paul supporters were initially receiving when showing up to exercise their democratic rights at a number of GOP county caucuses and conventions. In many cases, they were shut out of the process by Republican Party establishment insiders using virtually any means available to shut them down, as seen in some extraordinary moments caught on video tape.

In St. Charles County, MO for example, as we reported at the time, police were called in as pandemonium broke out, and arrests were made of peaceful Paul supporters. The caucus there was shut down by the establishment entirely before any votes were taken at all for the slate of delegates who were to go on to the state and then national conventions.

In another remarkable scene caught on video --- which we described at the time as "A Peach of a Mess in Athens-Clarke County, GA" --- the establishment Republicans running the county convention had gone so far as to vote in their own slate of delegates for Mitt Romney, while completely ignoring the apparent majority of participants who were attempting to vote against the slate. The Paul supporters' calls for a visual or written vote, rather than a voice vote, as per the parliamentary rules for the proceeding, were seen being completely ignored by the party insiders who had decided they owned the meeting and could do with it as they like, no matter the majority opinions to the contrary.

The Clarke County convention was then immediately adjourned --- despite another clear majority vote against the sudden adjournment --- and Paul supporters were subsequently seen on video tape attempting to get an explanation for the outrage from state GOP officials who, by and large, laughed at them or simply ignored them.

The result was a contested slate of delegates from Clarke County, GA and an official complaint registered with the state party's Credentials Committee against them.

On our KPFK show a few days later, we interviewed Lori Bone, one of the Clarke County Paul supporters seen trying to receive answers from officials in the video tape (I'll post that video again below), as well as the Paul organizer arrested for no reason at all --- other than he was trying to get a written record of the number of supporters who had been shut out of the process --- outside the caucus site in St. Charles, MO.

This week, Bone contacted us with some very good news. As you'll see in her press release below, based on the irregularities seen on the video tape at that outrageous Clarke County convention, the slate of delegates from Clarke County has now been summarily tossed out and disallowed from participating in the state convention "due to rules violations that disqualified the entire group."

That victory comes despite the Clarke County establishment's bogus slate of delegates being defended by both Georgia's Republican Secretary of State as well as the Secretary of the state Republican Party, according to Bone.

Here is the complete release sent to The BRAD BLOG by Bone earlier this week, along with the message, "I still can't believe we won"...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Clarke County loses their delegates at the 2012 Georgia State Republican Convention.

Columbus, GA May 19, 2012: Loud cheers and applause were heard after Credentials Committee chairman, B.J. VanGundy announced that the entire Clarke county delegation to the 2012 Georgia state Republican convention would not be allowed to vote or participate in the convention due to rules violations that disqualified the entire group (See video at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22697251 6:08:45 for announcement). Among those representing Clarke County at the convention were Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Secretary of the Georgia Republican party, John Padgett, two well-known and influential members of the Georgia Republican Party. Other prominent local GOP members affected by this decision included Clarke County chairman Matt Brewster and several members of the Clarke County Executive Committee. The entire delegation was asked to leave the convention floor and members lost their delegate status. As a result, Clarke County voters had no representatives at the convention.

The ruling was in response to an appeal regarding the events that took place at the March 10th Clarke County convention, where delegates were elected to represent Clarke County at the district and state conventions. Several of the complainants were themselves delegates or alternates to the convention, but fought to remove the entire delegation because they were not properly elected. During the March 10th county convention, Chairman Matt Brewster ignored calls from the floor to count the votes and pushed through nominations against the will of the voters present. A video posted to YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJxoVfrciUo depicting the events, clearly showed that a majority in attendance were ignored by Chairman Brewster. The video subsequently went viral and the allegations of fraud were reported in local, national, and international news stories.

Lori Bone stated, "What happened in Clarke County was wrong. Our hope is that this ruling set a clear precedent and will stop future chairs from employing similar tactics. We are very thankful to the credentials committee for hearing our complaint and ruling in our favor." Carter Kessler, Republican candidate for Athens House District 118 added "I've heard it spun that this was a victory for the Liberty Movement or for the 'Ron Paul folks' but it wasn't. It was a victory for the integrity of the process. This decision re-affirms the party's commitment to fair, open and honest elections."

Notes:
Atlanta Journal Constitution report
2nd view of announcement to remove Clarke delegation
Unedited raw video of March 10th convention (action starts at 3:30)

While all of that is clearly good news for the Paul supporters, and for the idea of democratic rule in general, it's a pity that, due to the arrogance and outrageous behavior of the GOP establishment in Clarke County, GA, Republican voters there were not represented at the state convention, and may not be represented at all at the National Convention in Tampa.

Bone tells us, however, that they aren't through yet. "Other portions of our appeal are ongoing and currently rest at the district level," she says. "We are fighting to have the chairman removed and other members disciplined in any way available."

Good for them! It's great to see folks standing up, using their voices and insisting upon their democracy to win, even against some of the most powerful people in the state --- or, at least the people who may still think they're the most powerful...

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The following video shows what happened at the 3/10/2012 Athens-Clarke County, GA convention, and in its aftermath, when the GOP establishment attempted to steal the slate of delegates from the majority Ron Paul supporters at the convention. Lori Bone is the woman seen attempting to get answers for the outrage from state officials, and then helping to organize in the aftermath...

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