Libertarian weekend In Reno and Las Vegas, a third way advances.

Keegan Steele adds more stock to a sales rack of Romney buttons at the Nevada Republican Convention. His brother Collin also worked the booth.


In the latest New York Times tally, Mitt Romney has 847 national convention delegates, more than three times as many as his nearest competitor, Rick Santorum, and about 11 times as many as Ron Paul, who is in fourth place with 80 delegates. Romney is just 115 delegates short of the nomination. There are 117 unelected superdelegates, 40 of whom already support Romney and 71 who have not yet committed. Paul has one unelected delegate.

The Republican state convention in Sparks was dominated by the passionate followers of the presidential candidate who came in third in the Feb. 4 GOP caucuses.

It was a settling of scores that was four years in the making, prompted by Republican leaders in 2008 who suddenly adjourned that years state convention to avert a similar takeover by the same faction.

After the February caucuses, which began this years process, supporters of libertarian Ron Paulwho received just 18.7 percent of the caucuses votedid a better job of getting his people first to the county conventions and then to the state convention than did the supporters of Mitt Romney, who won the caucuses with 50.1 percent of the vote.

Last weekend, it all came together as Paul won in convention the victory he could not win in the caucuses. The Paulists easily unseated two of Nevadas three members of the Republican National CommitteeRobert List and Heidi Smithand swept all 22 elected national convention delegate seats.

While perennial presidential candidate Paul was triumphing in Sparks, at the other end of Nevada, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, the Libertarian National Convention was also meeting to choose its presidential nominee.

Many members of the Libertarian Party view Paulist libertarians in the GOP the way science fiction fans regard Trekkies. But they also see the Paulists as potential backers if the Republican Party mistreats them, as happened in 2008.

In that year, when the Paulists won control of the Nevada Republican Convention and were poised to elect a Ron Paul delegation to the national convention, party leaders who feared embarrassment to Romneywho had also won that years caucusesand to expected nominee John McCain called off the state convention halfway through and chose national delegates later in a party committee.

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Libertarian weekend In Reno and Las Vegas, a third way advances.

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