What was the Motivation for Caucus Shenanigans?

9 Apr

I wrote here and here about the shenanigans at the Jefferson County GOP caucus. At the caucus, the pro-Santorum establishment GOP types from the county Republican Central Committee, led by Janet Engelbach, county GOP chairman, and Derrick Good, GOP legislative candidate, played fast and loose with the rules (and with the credential rolls) in order to ensure their delegate slate won the day. The question I have been mulling is, why was it so important to win that these tactics had to be employed? I have some thoughts.

First of all, we know the establishment types were supporting Rick Santorum. It is clear to everyone, and I think it was on March 17, caucus date, that Santorum has no chance of winning the nomination. So why go to the mat for someone who can’t win? Plus, even if you do win, it only means that you have to go to the next level, the Congressional District and State Conventions, to once again fight for your nominee. By the time those caucuses roll around, Santorum’s defeat will be even more obvious. So Santorum loyalty can’t be the reason.

Second, I thought, maybe they really want to be delegates at the next level. In that case, they probably could have gotten themselves added to the Paul/Romney slate, by some sort of negotiation. Why the fierce need to become a delegate, if this theory is correct? To hobnob with fellow establishment types? To maybe score a trip to the national convention?

Third, maybe they just desperately didn’t want Ron Paul to win the day, even though he has no chance to win the nomination. He’s not an establishment type, and some of his libertarian views probably make them uncomfortable.

Fourth, maybe this was all about maintaining control in Jefferson County, continuing to be the big dogs. They wouldn’t want to see Tea Party types, or (shudder) Ron Paul types come out on top and threaten to upend the county order, especially now that the party is becoming predominant in the county after years of Democrat control. Ironically, this may backfire, as the raucous caucus motivated a number of challengers to run for township GOP committee seats in the upcoming primary election. Anger over their caucus chicanery might be their downfall. Had they merely acquiesced to the Paul contingent’s superior numbers and “allowed” them to win the caucus, Paul types probably would have been content to leave the Central Committee as it was. But now we’ll have a battle.

Imagine, though, if the caucus results get thrown out by the State Credentials Committee, which is hearing challenges to the caucus results, and Jefferson County is asked to caucus again. That would be a very interesting event. You can bet the doors to the venue, and the credential rolls, will be watched like a mouse at a cat convention at a potential caucus round two.


One Response to “What was the Motivation for Caucus Shenanigans?”


  1. Local Tea Party/GOP Battle Heats Up « Jefferson County Penknife - July 1, 2012

    […] The first skirmish in this battle took place at the county GOP caucus on March 17, when questionable tactics were used to prevent a Ron Paul slate (that had a lot of Tea Party support) from winning the day. Another […]


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