Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ron Paul supporters disseminate 'caucus voter guide' to guide votes his way -

WASHINGTON - Ron Paul supporters distributed a "caucus voter guide" at Louisiana Republican Party presidential caucus sites Saturday steering voters to choose one of six virtually identical slates of Paul supporters, which the guide variously characterized as backing Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party, defenders of faith, family and freedom, and "Citizens Against Traffic Cameras."

Charlie Davis, who is running the Paul campaign in Louisiana, described the "third-party voter guide," which was the handiwork of The Dead Pelican, a Louisiana political website, as an attempt "to bring clarity to a somewhat confusing situation." Davis said the "activists" passing out the guide were also passing out a copy of a story from Friday's Times-Picayune explaining the complicated caucus process.

ron_paul_buttons.jpgThis display of Ron Paul buttons for sale was photographed in January at the Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

The Dead Pelican's Chad Rogers defended the voter guide. "To the best of my knowledge, this is the most accurate description and perhaps only real in-depth analysis of the different slates involved," he said in an email.

But the distribution of the guide seemed more designed to maximize the vote for the Texas congressman than to clarify anything, and, not long after the voting ended at noon, The Dead Pelican was reporting, "Ron Paul Slate Sweeping LA Caucus!"

On the ballot, only the delegates' names were listed, without any identification of which presidential candidate they might prefer.

Each of the state's six new congressional districts was electing 25 delegates to the party's state convention June 2 in Shreveport. That gathering will, in turn, choose the delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, and also vote on a state party platform.

On the caucus ballots the delegates were arrayed in nine different slates (10 in the 1st Congressional District), and voters could either vote for a slate or pick 25 individuals. There was considerable overlap on the slates, and the delegates who accumulate the most votes on all the slates combined win.

Slate 7 was the official Ron Paul slate.

The Romney campaign was asking its supporters for vote for Slate 5, which also, in a move toward party unity, included some delegates from Slates 2 and 3, which had been backing former House Speaker Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum. In kind, Slates 2 and 3 included some pro-Romney delegates.

"I think having pro-Romney state delegates on so many slates made it a bit confusing for everyone," said Davis.

But Slates 1, 4, 6, 8 and 9 all were made up of the same delegate candidates as the official Ron Paul slate, 7, and the purpose of the guide seemed to be to steer people of every candidate preference to vote for a slate peopled with Paul backers.

The guide described Slate 5, the one officially backed by the Romney campaign, as "undecided/unknown," and suggested that while 45 percent of its delegates are Romney supporters, "this slate won't accrue as many bound delegates to Mitt Romney as slate #1 does, but it seems that the original intention was to a be a Pro-Romney effort."

Meanwhile, Slate 1, composed entirely of Paul supporters, bore the "Romney: Believe in America" campaign logo and was identified as the Republican Unity Slate.  The guide stated, "Voters for this slate will accrue more unbound delegates and alternates for Mitt Romney at the 2012 National Convention." Why that was true was not explained.

Slate 2, which was originally the Gingrich slate, was also identified as "Undecided/Unknown" with the explanation, "It may be best defined as a formerly pro-Gingrich and now pro-Romney slate of delegates who wish they could be uncommitted forever."

Likewise, Slate 3, which originated as an uncommitted conservative slate that would have been available to Santorum, was similarly dismissed as "a formerly pro-Santorum now pro-Romney slate of delegates who wish they could remain uncommitted forever."

Slate 4 was identified as "Citizens Against Traffic Cameras" and didn't name a preferred candidate.

The guide identified Slate 6, bearing the Santorum and Gingrich campaign logos and a red, white and blue elephant logo, as the "Republican Unity Slate," and said, "Voters for this slate will accrue more unbound delegates and alternates for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum supporters at the 2012 National Convention," again with no explanation as to why that would be.

Slate 8 was identified as "Pro-Faith Pro-Family Pro-Freedom," without mentioning a specific candidate.

Slate 9 was identified as the "Stop Agenda-21 Tea Party" slate and suggested, "Vote for this slate if you'd like to see delegates focus on inserting language protesting the United Nations Agenda-21 program in both the state and national party platforms."

The state party plans to announce the results of the caucus later today.

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