In the state of Nevada, an important showdown is about to occur. Nevada was long ago placed by some pundits solidly in the "win" column for Mitt Romney, but this weekend will likely prove those estimates wrong as Nevada Republicans meet to unanimously send Ron Paul supporters as Nevada's national delegation to Tampa, Florida.
Realizing that Romney will likely suffer the embarrassment of losing the state with the fourth highest Mormon population in the U.S., a threatening letter was recently sent by the allegedly impartial Republican National Convention in an attempt to save face in Nevada. In it, RNC Chief Counsel John R. Phillippe, Jr., seemed to take sides by threatening all of Nevada's delegates if Nevada Republicans did not show enough support for Mitt Romney.
The story runs deeper – Nevada's Republican old guard has spent a considerable effort in keeping Ron Paul's supporters out of the process.
Presidential historian and Paul campaign spokesman Doug Wead points out that Romney's campaign has no interest in welcoming Paul to the table: "Romney Hawks, now in complete control of his campaign are using strong arm tactics to shut out the Ron Paul forces."
After a very challenging 2008 election, Paul supporters in Nevada worked hard to take over their state party.
A Republican state delegate who identified himself only as "not Romney and not Paul" commented impartially on the Romney vendetta against Paul: "Less motivated Republicans fall by the wayside between elections. Paul supporters came four years ago and stuck around. They won the party by caring more than others."
He continued, "Some of them came out of vengeance, some of them came out of concern for the future of the country. Either way, I'm happy to have them and just wish the Romney campaign would accept them too. These Romney people aren’t looking at the long game. They are going to ruin our party just to have their man nominated... Paul supporters are the future of this party...either welcome them or destroy our party...looks to me like Romney would rather see our party destroyed... blacks, Hispanics, the young voters, independents, people who never even got involved before... that Paul attracts a big group - the biggest builder of the Party I've seen since Reagan."
The big tent Republican Party that Reagan built is being splintered by a Romney campaign vendetta.
"Romney might win the nomination, but without Paul and his people, he'll never win the Presidency and has no chance [winning] Congress," continued the Clark County delegate.
While many pundits have named Romney the nominee, it sounds like Mitt Romney himself does not actually believe he has this wrapped up. A Paul staffer recently pointed out that, "If Mitt Romney had this thing won, he would be telling his state chairs to make it easy for new people to come into the party. The fact that they are shutting us out is revealing."
Nevada Republicans and Maine Republicans will meet this weekend to select delegates to the Republican National Convention being held August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida. Contrary to many media estimates, it looks like Paul will come out of both states as the winner.