Over the weekend, Republicans in the 37th Legislative District gathered to choose delegates to the state GOP convention. The caucus started out inside Dimmitt Middle School. But it didn’t end inside the building. After supporters of also-ran Texas Congressman Ron Paul elected one of their own to chair of the meeting, the gathering was booted outside by King County Republican Party Chairman Lori Sotelo. The move came after attendees irritated Sotelo by rejecting her choice to run the caucus – former King County Councilman David Irons.
Instead, the group voted for Tamara Smilanich, a Paul supporter.
That prompted Sotelo to declare the meeting was no longer a Republican Party event – but a Ron Paul campaign event.
Sotelo says she asked the group to continue its meeting outside because the King County Republican Party — not the Paul campaign — had paid for the facility and for the insurance. She added that Smilanich stopped her from addressing the group.
“I said, ‘I am going to have to step away from responsibility and have to ask you to take your caucus elsewhere,’ ” Sotelo said in an interview.
Sotelo called Smilanich a Paul campaign “operative” who did not have the experience to run the caucus. She said there was no reason for the Paul supporters to “take over” the meeting — they had numbers and were going to elect their favored delegates no matter who chaired the caucus.
“There is no other campaign that feels the need to poke the party in the eye like the Ron Paul campaign,” said Sotelo. “For heaven’s sake stop hitting us with a firehose.”
But Smilanich said she saw nothing wrong with what happened at the caucus.
“There was a vote and the vote went to elect [the chairman] who the body wanted. Everything was legitimate,” Smilanich said.
Even though the GOP had reserved the room until 2 p.m., the meeting was pushed outside to the basketball court at about 12:30 p.m. The caucus finished its business outside in the sun, and elected 11 Ron Paul supporters to the state convention, which begins May 31 in Tacoma.
Despite asserting the caucus had ceased to be a Republican Party function once Smilanich was elected chair, Sotelo said she had no plans to challenge the legitimacy of those delegates.
The dust-up is the latest in a series of disputes between Paul supporters and local GOP officials.
Paul’s supporters have repeatedly accused GOP leaders of conspiring against his campaign.
Republican leaders, meanwhile, have been irritated at what they see as rude, disruptive and paranoid behavior by the Paul supporters.
The Republican Party has a conundrum. Whenever events are held, caucuses, primaries, the nastiest thing happens. People show up and exercise their constitutionally-applied good will into a political system that WILL HAVE NONE OF THAT
LORI SOTELO, seemingly losing her marbles in finding it rational and wise to openly declare that since a slate of delegates not of her choosing is clearly going to be elected in this caucus and someone upsatirs is going to vewwwy vewwy vewwwy mad at Lori Sotelo for letting democracy play out in such an earnest fashion, it is no longer a caucus of her party.
To even open her mouth out of order violates Roberts’ Rules. Booooo on Lori Sotelo!!!
I like her firehose reference, though.
THE CHAIR HAS THE FLOOR. THE CHAIR DOES NOT RECOGNIZE.
THE CHAIR HAS THE FLOOR. right here on daves super tasty video…