VANCOUVER — Ron Paul’s people came with a plan today.
In preparing for the Republican Party caucus here at Heritage High School, Paul supporters organized to get their folks to the caucus site. Supporters of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich did not do the same. The Paul camp also made sure they knew the rules and processes for selecting delegates.
“We concentrated on voting blocs [to get people here],” said Mark, a Paul supporter who did not provide his last name. “We were organized and well informed.”
All this mattered because Washington State Republicans allow members from each caucus precinct to determine their own method for electing delegates — something the organized Paul group capitalized upon, to the chagrin of some fellow voters.
For example, some Paul supporters employed a complicated method of voting “rounds,” in which one delegate was selected at a time, all but guaranteeing them the four delegate spots — even when this meant presenting a skewed representation of the precinct’s choices. Romney supporters, in particular, felt outgunned.
People felt especially frustrated about a perceived lack of delegate representation in precincts that were split roughly half and half for two presidential candidates during the straw ballot but did not approximate that breakdown in delegate totals.
In the end, Paul only won the straw poll over Romney by 12 votes at this caucus location. But the real impact of this caucus will be decided March 31st, when chosen delegates head to the Clark County Republican Convention and cast their official vote. If all Paul supporters played their cards right, Paul could finally see the delegate numbers he’s been looking for.