Politics

Precinct officer calls new political alliance a Ron Paul takeover

The fledgling PCO Liberty Alliance I blogged about earlier this month has been called out by a Republican precinct committee officer in Clark County, who wonders whether the group is a “veiled attempt by Ron Paul’s supporters to take over the Clark County GOP.”

Marla Riley, GOP officer of precinct 650, said that out of the 158 precinct committee officers the alliance endorses in the Aug. 7 primary, 104 of them were Ron Paul supports, 20 were undecided and just two supported the presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the caucuses. The PCO Liberty Alliance claims to be in touch with Clark County’s Republicans at the grass root level, but it hardly represent most members of local party, she said in a statement sent to the group.

“How can you propose to speak for the Republicans of Clark County when the candidate that won the Clark County straw poll hands down and had the most public support locally isn’t even a blip on your radar?” Riley said. “Clearly your efforts are about control, not building the party.”

The PCO Liberty Alliance defines itself as a group of mostly Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum supporters aiming to get 150 like-minded precinct committee officers elected on Aug. 7. Leaders within the group said they formed to address frustrations over a mismanaged county convention and the current leadership’s penchant for establishment candidates.

Primary election ballots, which include PCO elections, were mailed out on Wednesday. The county has 222 precincts, and on the primary ballot Democratic voters can pick their Democratic precinct officers while Republican voters can select their Republican precinct officers.

PCOs choose who should sit on the party’s executive board at the county level and also play a role in selecting interim state legislators if a lawmaker leaves office prematurely.

Riley said the PCO Liberty Alliance is being divisive and is actively opposing or refusing to support many Republican leaders, including Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, state Rep. Paul Harris, legislative candidates Carolyn Crain and Julie Olson, and newly appointed Clark County GOP Chairwoman Stephanie McClintock.

“Let’s stop the civil war and work to defeat the liberal Democrats,” Riley said in her statement. “How do your actions help the conservative movement and the Republican Party?”

Riley said the PCO Liberty Alliance sounds a lot like the group of Ron Paul supporters that took over Republican leadership in Clark County, Nevada. Later, a member of the party’s executive board erected a billboard in Nevada that compared Paul to Ronald Reagan and Romney to George Bush, and also provided a link to a philosophically libertarian website, OathKeepers.org.

Riley also said she’s frustrated because a precinct officer endorsed by the PCO Liberty Alliance is challenging her in the Aug. 7 PCO elections.

“I’m a staunch conservative; I was a Rick Santorum supporter,” Riley said in her statement to the alliance. “Without understanding where I stand on the issues, your group has endorsed the person running against me.”

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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