2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul ended activecampaigning on Monday with his announcement that he would no longer spend money to win votes in states thathave yet to hold primaries. The campaign will continue to lobby to win leadership positions atstate conventions and gaining delegates to represent Paul inFlorida at the Republican National Convention in August. Paul’s announcement leaves the rest of the primary field wide openfor frontrunner Mitt Romney, who already leads in overall votes anddelegate counts. Paul’s new strategy, though, has already playeditself out in Alaska, in unexpected and occasionally controversialways.
Paul had high hopes for winning in Alaska, and as a testament tothat became the only candidate to pay a visit to the Last Frontier during the campaign season, delivering stump speeches in Alaska’stwo largest cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks in early March. There, Paul filled rooms with supporters eager to hear about hisplatform built on fiscal reform and Constitutional liberties.Though Paul’s support base was smaller than some of the othercandidates’, they’ve been a vocal bunch, and Alaska’s Paul backerswere no exception. That became apparent after Alaska’s presidential preference poll onSuper Tuesday, when Paul came in third behind Romney and RickSantorum — the latter who withdrew earlier this month — and allegations of Paul supporters being turned away or marginalized by more mainstream party candidates began toemerge. Paul campaign chief for Alaska, Evan Cutler, sent an email tothen-Alaska GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich expressing dissatisfactionwith the way the preference polling occurred.
Ruedrich deniedallegations of impropriety. The Paul campaign later condemned the Alaska Republican Party’s allegedly intentional exclusion ofPaul delegates from the state’s convention over unpaid fees, evenafter the national campaign offered to pay them. Then, in late April, Ron Paul’s backers showed their convictionwhen Ruedrich — who had weathered numerous presidential campaignsand other Alaska political quagmires — decided not to run forchair again at the state GOP Convention. Instead of installing a more “establishment” Republican to fill theseat, it was Paul supporter Russ Millette who was picked to lead by Republicans at the convention. Millette, 66, was a virtualunknown, having lived off and on in Alaska over the years. Satin Drawstring Pouch
Debra Holle Brown, another Paul backer, was elected to co-chair ofthe state GOP. Failed U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller — a tea party supporterperhaps best known for having his security detail handcuff Alaska Dispatch’s editor during his2010 run — and Paul supporters alike celebrated the toppling of Alaska’sold-guard Republicans. But that wasn’t the only hubbub caused by Paul supporters at theconvention. Some of them booed Republican Alaska Sen. Embroidered Tote Bags Manufacturer
Lisa Murkowski and guest speaker Sen. JohnBarrasso (R-Wyo.) when they addressed the crowd. Barrasso drew firefrom some members of the audience when he announced his support forMitt Romney, prompting chants for Ron Paul. Though Paul won only six delegates in Alaska, the changing of theguard within the party could also change the way that Republicanactivities are carried out within the state. Jewelry Drawstring Pouch
And based on the Paulcampaign’s recent announcement, that might be good enough to changethe “politics-as-usual” that Paul campaigns against. ” Our campaign will continue to work in the state conventionprocess,” the statement reads. “We will continue to take leadershippositions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to theRepublican National Convention that Liberty is the way of thefuture.” Now, the Paul campaign will attempt to replicate its Alaska successelsewhere in the country. Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com.