VANCOUVER — Clark County hugs the northern side of the Columbia River near Portland and is often locked into the liberal vibe from the south. But on this day, the engaged crowd of 596 who gathered at Heritage High School for Republican caucuses took pride in being Portland’s conservative commuter city — and a Ron Paul stronghold.
Supporters for other candidates were certainly present at this caucus location — in the presidential straw poll Paul got 200 votes, Mitt Romney received 188, Rick Santorum received 147, and Newt Gingrich received 46 — but they were mostly quiet. Paul’s supporters, on the other hand, were on fire.
Young and old, black and white, “Blue Republicans” and “Little “l” libertarians” flagged me down to profess their devotion to “The Doctor.” Young voters voiced a sentiment I’ve heard now dozens of times across our coverage in Nevada, Colorado, and Washington — Obama has let them down by becoming “the next George W. Bush,” passing the National Defense Authorization Act, and failing to stop U.S. wars. Older Paulians expressed the desire to return to gold standard and obliterate government spending.
Nearly every Paul supporter to whom I spoke was grinning from ear to ear. Periodically, when Paul took all of a precinct’s delegates, a table of hunched-over caucusers burst into applause.