Underdog presidential candidate Ron Paul overcame GOP chicanery to win four national delegates, and four alternates at Washington State's republican convention here in Spokane on Friday, May 30th.
Stuart Grant, who was on the floor, estimated that forty to forty-two percent of the state delegates supported Ron Paul (video).
Ron Paul's supporters say the GOP rail-roaded the convention to favor John McCain.
A Ron Paul supporter named Jacob Brassington said he was offerred $500 to switch his vote to McCain (video).
Ron Paul delegates sitting in the left, right and center of the convention hall said they doubted that Washington State GOP chairman Luke Esser could discern whether a majority had voted for or against several questions. Nonetheless, Mr. Esser uniformly ruled in favor of McCain, and even reversed himself once after accidentally ruling for Ron Paul. Mr. Esser also failed to count votes for candidate Mike Huckabee in the February caucus.
John McCain has said he's OK with staying in Iraq for a hundred years, and bombing Iran. Ron Paul wants to bring the troops home immediately, and takes a peaceful approach to Iran.
Bruce Morton, from Lake Stevens, said he was euphoric and teary-eyed after passing an anti-war resolution. Some delegates said his success made the whole weekend worthwhile.
Ron Paul delegate John Spiers, said he was told by security that the GOP instructed them to kick out anyone videotaping the convention without press credentials. Mr. Spiers repeatedly asked to see which rule they were enforcing, but was never shown one. Mr. Spiers said he suspected the republican party was trying to hide something.
A reporter who supports Ron Paul said the GOP refused to give him press credentials for the convention. Fred James said when he told the GOP he was from Bellingham, where Ron Paul enjoys strong support, there was a long, pregnant pause at the other end of the phone. Mr. James is reporting for Nolan Chart and the Whatcom Independent.
The GOP placed Ron Paul's booth at the outer reaches of the convention hall, where fewer people would see it.
The election of delegates for the second congressional district was chaired by McCain supporter Joe Elenbaas, who was recently sentenced to a year in jail. Mr. Elenbaas said the rules wouldn't allow a hand count of the ballots to double check the computerized tally, but was unable to cite the exact rule. Washington state GOP chair Luke Esser was called in to answer questions, but said he couldn't remember who makes the voting machines that the party uses.
Justin McKay, from Ferndale, said he came away with one question: “Who makes the electronic machines that are used to count the votes? Does anyone out there know? We're waiting with baited breath.”
Don Harkin, who runs the Idaho Observer, said people were shocked to find ballots in a garbage can.
Ron Paul supporter Doug Parris said the convention was the biggest cheat-fest he'd ever seen, and that he was kicked in the groin by another delegate while photographing McCain's delegation. His interview starts forty two seconds into this video.
A Ron Paul delegate was kicked out of the convention (video). Neither he or this reporter are aware of any McCain delegate being kicked out. Jayson Reimer criticized McCain delegates, and said he wanted to give Mr. Esser an “atomic wedgie”, which is where someone is restrained by pulling the waistband of his underwear up over his head.
This reporter drew tears from Ron Paul supporters when he observed that, one year, two years or five years from now, if they happen to meet an unconsolable mother who has lost a child in a stupid Middle Eastern war, they'll be able to offer sympathy, and say that, back in 2008, they tried to stop it in Spokane.
Kingsley G. Morse Jr.
Whatcom County delegate
June 8th, 2008