Ron Paul supporters roil Clark County, Nevada, GOP
By Felicia Sonmez,
Five top members of the Clark County, Nev., Republican Party have resigned in an apparent dispute with supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). (Laura Segall — Getty Images)
Chairman Dave Gibbs, Vice Chairman Woody Stroupe, Precinct Organization Administrator Matthew Yarbrough, Communications Director Bobbie Haseley and Media Relations Director Michael Chamberlain announced their resignations at a special Wednesday night meeting of the county GOP executive board.
The resignations were confirmed by Cindy Lake, the former county party secretary who has been tapped to serve as acting chairwoman. The departure of the five officials follows the resignation several weeks ago of Coalition Director Mitch Cain, according to Lake.
That leaves only two of the county GOP’s seven executive board officers — Treasurer Linda Bronstein and Political Director Frank Ricotta — remaining in their positions.
Gibbs and state party chairman Michael McDonald did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In an interview with the Associated Press, which first reported the news of the resignations, Stroupe said that Paul supporters had been “picking fights” with the Republican National Committee.
The departures come weeks after Paul supporters swept the state GOP convention in Sparks; the meeting ended with 22 of the elected national convention delegates in Paul’s column and only three in Romney’s.
Three others — RNC National Committeewoman Heidi Smith, National Committeeman Bob List and McDonald — are expected to attend the national convention as Romney delegates, although List and Smith were ousted from their RNC perches and will be replaced by Paul supporters James Smack and Diana Orrock effective after the national convention.
In addition, at the March county convention, Paul supporters came to dominate the Clark County GOP, winning 13 of 14 new elected executive board spots.
The tensions between Paul supporters and the GOP establishment have been simmering all year and escalated earlier this month, when RNC chief counsel John Philippe Jr. penned a letter to McDonald threatening not to seat the state delegation this summer if it were dominated by Paul supporters.
Now, it looks like things in Nevada are getting even testier.
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Lake — a Paul supporter and the former county GOP secretary who was tapped to serve as acting chairwoman — said that there was “no actual confrontation” at Wednesday night’s special meeting, which had been called to discuss business related to vote-counting.
Nonetheless, the mass resignations “took us by surprise,” she said.
Gibbs — who had served as county GOP chairman since last July — submitted a letter of resignation, according to Lake, and Stroupe — the vice-chairman — read a letter aloud and then submitted it. Their resignations are effective Friday, Lake said.
“I think they realized that their days of controlling the direction of the party have come to an end — the direction the party was heading in the past,” she said of the members who resigned. “And there’s a new direction that the new members and leaders are taking the party. ... (We want to) hold our members’ feet to the fire and get conservatives elected.”
Eddie Facey, who was previously one of the 14 elected executive board members, has been tapped to serve as acting vice-chairman, according to Lake.
“We’re kind of moving forward — business as usual, handling the resignations,” she said. “We’ve made some appointments and temporary appointments.”
Lake added that when it comes to the influence of Paul supporters in the state GOP, “it’s the involvement in the party apparatus that will not stop; it’s just going to keep growing and growing and growing.”
“All we’re doing here is bringing forth a conservative, accountable message, loud and clear, that we are here and we’re not going away, and we will work very hard to grow the party and get conservative Republicans elected in November,” she said.