Ron Paul stirs up Nevadans

Before he heard about Ron Paul, Wayne Terhune wasn’t much into politics.

“I kind of voted for the lesser of two evils every time,” said the 57-year-old Northern Nevadan, who has a dental practice in Sparks but lives a ways out of town — at the end of a dirt road in a house that’s off the electrical grid, powered by solar and wind.

That changed when he got wind of Paul’s message.

The Texas congressman, who made a run at the Republican presidential nomination, advocated strict adherence to the Constitution, radically shrinking the size of government and expanding individual liberties.

He railed against the war in Iraq, saying the United States should not intervene in other countries’ affairs, and called for an end to the Federal Reserve and the monetary system.

A renegade in his own party, Paul moved Terhune in a way no politician had before. He joined a MeetUp.com group in Reno that eventually grew to more than 250 members — the one in Las Vegas has more than 800 — and volunteered for Paul’s campaign in the run-up to Nevada’s Jan. 19 presidential caucuses.

The question now facing Terhune and other Paul followers is what to do in November. In Nevada, a top swing state, their choice could determine if the state goes Republican or Democratic in the 2008 election.

Terhune doesn’t know for whom he’ll vote.

“I can’t vote for (John) McCain,” he said of the Republican presumptive nominee. “I don’t think he’s a real conservative. I’ll probably go to a third party, but I’m going to have to investigate my choices before the election.”

Nationally, Paul surprised the political establishment with the energy and money his upstart campaign generated, much of it on the Internet. He ended his campaign last month and announced he is starting an organization called the Campaign for Liberty with the nearly $5 million in leftover funds.

He has not endorsed McCain, and many analysts wonder if his supporters will look to the Libertarian Party. Paul was the Libertarians’ presidential nominee in 1988.

This year, the Libertarian Party nominee is Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia. As a former elected official, he carries a much higher profile than the party’s 2004 presidential nominee, software engineer Michael Badnarik.

The combination of the rich vein of libertarian sentiment Paul tapped in the primary, Barr’s credibility as a candidate and libertarian conservatives’ dissatisfaction with McCain has political observers wondering if the Libertarian Party ticket is poised to play a spoiler role in the 2008 election, taking enough votes away from McCain to deliver the election to Democrat Barack Obama.

“Will libertarian Barr be next Nader?” was the headline of a commentary in the Politico newspaper by Terry Michael, director of the Center for Politics and Journalism in Washington, D.C.

The question is especially apt in Nevada.

Paul came in second in the caucuses, getting 14 percent of the vote. His 6,087 votes were almost 500 more than McCain got.

Paul’s followers proceeded to descend on Republican conventions around the state. At the state convention in April, at which Paul spoke, they represented as many as half the 1,300 delegates and proposed a successful rule change that they saw as making the selection process more fair for the Republican National Convention.

Lacking time to complete the voting, the Republican Party shut down the convention. Terhune organized a rogue convention last weekend in Reno that attracted about 300 delegates. Although they insist it should count as the official convention, the party has scheduled the re-convention for July 26.

Paul’s followers also succeeded in getting some of their cherished positions included in the official state Republican platform, such as abolishing the Patriot Act and the Federal Reserve — positions that put the Nevada Republican Party at odds with the national Republican platform.

“They totally threw the establishment for a loop here, and the Republican Party is still reeling from it,” said David Damore, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Paul struck a chord with a lot of voters. In a lot of people’s eyes, he’s the only one out there speaking the truth.”

In Nevada and other Mountain West states, the independent, frontier spirit makes the population receptive to a libertarian message, Damore said. Depending on how the Paul supporters proceed, “They could be McCain’s worst nightmare, especially if they were to rally around Barr,” he said.

Another factor that could have weight locally is Barr’s running mate. Wayne Allyn Root, a flamboyant Las Vegas oddsmaker, is the Libertarian nominee for vice president and is well known in gambling circles, where he emphasizes the party’s gambling-friendly platform planks.

Root is a relentless attention hound and a slick presence. Libertarians, he vows, will set records for fundraising and vote-getting this year. Their biggest goal is to be included in the Obama-McCain debates.

“I’ve been doing radio interviews around the country. It’s remarkable,” Root said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a third party outside Ross Perot that’s gotten this much attention.”

Perot’s former campaign manager, he noted, is working with Barr and Root.

Barr and Root have insisted they don’t want to siphon votes from the right and cost McCain the election the way many believe Perot did George H.W. Bush in 1992.

“We’re not aiming to be spoilers. We’re aiming to win,” Root said. “Our second goal is to build a foundation for the Libertarian Party for years to come.”

But he acknowledged that the spoiler scenario is not far-fetched, and added, “It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if that happened.”

George W. Bush won Nevada narrowly in 2004, beating Democrat John Kerry by about 20,000 votes. Badnarik, the Libertarian nominee, got 3,176 votes, four-tenths of 1 percent of the statewide total.

“You could tip a state like Nevada with 2, 3, 4 percent of the vote,” said Chuck Muth, a Nevada conservative activist who subscribes to libertarian ideals and left the Republican Party last year because he felt it no longer represented his views.

“Libertarian conservative voters believe that since the Contract With America, when Republicans took Congress in 1994, it’s been all downhill since,” he said. “It took a while, with George W. Bush, for conservatives to realize he wasn’t one of them. All the spending, they’re tired of it. They thought that by sending a message in 2006, Republicans would learn their lesson. They didn’t; they nominated McCain, who’s very hard for them (libertarians) to swallow.”

Muth said McCain’s campaign has not reached out to libertarian conservatives, leaving their votes up in the air for the time being. He said Barr is a compelling candidate who could captivate former Paul acolytes and tip Nevada.

Interviews with more than a dozen Nevada Paul supporters found most undecided and none firmly committed to Barr. Many said they were considering voting Libertarian.

Las Vegas businessman Jason Holloway, 30, said he’ll probably write in a vote for Paul.

Web designer Arden Osborne, 38, whose enthusiasm for Paul led him to get himself elected to an executive position in the Clark County Republican Party, will cast a somewhat reluctant vote for McCain.

McCain’s campaign spokesman in Nevada, Rick Gorka, said the campaign welcomes Paul supporters to join and does not believe the Libertarian Party is a threat.

“Bob Barr is going to get his share of votes, but we think Senator McCain captures enough of the Republican base, along with independents and Democrats, to overcome whatever votes Congressman Barr receives,” he said.

Muth said he would like to see vote swapping Web sites set up like they were for Ralph Nader in 2000. The sites allowed swing-state voters who sympathized with Nader but didn’t want their protest votes to lead to a Bush presidency to trade votes with people in safe Democratic states.

“Honest to God, I am undecided,” he said. “I wake up some mornings and say, ‘That’s it. I have had it with Republicans. I’m going to vote for Bob Barr.’ Then sometimes I think about the people President Obama will appoint to the Supreme Court, and I think I have to vote for McCain.”

If vote swapping were available, he said, “I would do it in a heartbeat. I would vote for McCain in Nevada if I knew someone in a state like Utah would vote for Barr. I’d like to see the Libertarians do well this cycle and send a message to the Republicans.”

Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Las Vegans Pack Public Lands Open House
A crowd filled the Clark County Library conference room Tuesday afternoon where Clark County officials hold their first -- and possibly only -- public meeting on plans to open almost 39,000 acres of federal land for development just outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area. County commissioners are set to vote June 19 on a potentially controversial resolution seeking federal legislation that would set aside tens of thousands of acres for conservation while giving Nevada’s largest community more room to grow. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police search Henderson Constable's home and office
Las Vegas police served search warrants Tuesday at Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell's home and office. The investigation was sparked by a Las Vegas Review-Journal story showing Mitchell wrote himself $70,000 in checks, used ATMs at casinos and video poker bars, and traveled to places his adult children live. All using county funds. Police refused to comment but Mitchell's attorney said he did nothing wrong.
Vegas Golden Knights fans shows his colors for community
Vegas Golden Knights superfan Lynn Groesbeck has wrapped his new truck with Knights logos and images. He loves how the Golden Knights are bringing community back to Las Vegas. People stop him on the street to take photos and share his support. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Acting Coach Daryl Morris on His Craft
Acting coach Daryl Morris, whose father Bobby was Elvis Presley's conductor in Las Vegas, discusses his craft and how he leads his own classes. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Constable wanted county funds to fight Review-Journal investigation
The Las Vegas Review-Journal asked for public records to investigate constable spending. But Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell hired outside counsel to fight the request. And he wanted the county to pay nearly $7,500 for those attorneys. The county declined. And records show the constable's office owes taxpayers $700,000. County officials said the money will be repaid over three years. Mitchell abandoned his re-election before the Review-Journal story ran.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like