Thursday , 26 November 2015

The Chaos Caucus: Nevada GOP’s National Embarrassment

To be honest, it didn’t exactly take a crystal ball to see this coming a mile away.

Before I left Saturday morning to take my wife and a pair of the nicest neighbors you’d ever want to have to the GOP presidential caucus, I wrote about what to watch for later that evening once the caucus results were released:

“And finally, will the caucus itself come off without a hitch, or will Nevada Republicans once again end up a national embarrassment?”

You can say this about Nevada Republicans: they are consistent. They never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity. And hoo-ahhh…did they ever blow this one!

I don’t know about the rest of the valley, but at the precinct meeting I monitored – despite the first balloting being done on the wrong ballots – we were in and out in less than an hour. So let’s say other caucus sites weren’t so well-organized. Still, by all accounts just about all of them were finished by noon.

Which is around when the first sign that this was gonna be a major league PR mess emerged, as the Los Angeles Times reported that their reporter on the ground here in Las Vegas, Ashley Powers (no relation to Austin), had been foolishly thrown out of a precinct meeting as a “spy.”

And so it began.

Anyway, with much fanfare, pomp and e-circumstance, the Nevada GOP announced a couple weeks ago that it was going high-tech and would start releasing the caucus results at 5 p.m. via Twitter. At around 7 p.m. the party tweeted that with only 8.1% of the precincts counted – and none from Clark County – Mitt Romney was way ahead with 40.5% of the vote.

That was enough for the Associated Press to call it for Romney and for Romney to begin working his way down to the victory party at the Red Rock Casino.

Meanwhile, the “after sundown” caucus – hastily approved and clumsily planned – to accommodate Jewish and 7th Day Adventist Republicans got underway…but not without major controversy. As Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston tweeted at the time: “So why such big crowd at the Adelson school? Because — wait for it — Ron Paul’s campaign did a robocall to supporters to crash.”

And crash they did.

I received this text message later in the evening from a longtime political operative whose friend received the call:

“Ron Paul’s campaign called (name deleted) at 6:30 and told him he needs to caucus again because the caucus this morning didn’t count and they were doing it over. They were fraudulently telling people to vote again!!! I couldn’t believe it. If I wasn’t there to explain to him why there were 2 caucuses today he would have gone back!”

At 7:30 p.m., Ben Spillman of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on “repeated clashes between local Republican party officials and would-be caucus-goers who resented being required to affirm their religious beliefs before being allowed to participate.”

Spillman also referenced the Paul campaign robocall, reporting that it stated “that if they missed an earlier caucus for any reason they could show up at the sundown event” and still vote. Chaos ensued.

An 83-year-old man, Alan Kaplan, objected to a 29-year-old man – who objected to being required to sign a religious oath statement – being escorted out of the building by makeshift “bouncers,” including Assemblyman John Hambrick. “You want to take him out, take me out, too, you son of a bitch,” Kaplan yelled at Hambrick.

Later Kaplan told Spillman that he fought in Vietnam, but “I didn’t fight for assholes like that.” Lovely.

While all of this was going on, folks on the East Coast – which is home to the national media covering the election and three hours ahead of us – were starting to go to bed, with less than 10 percent of the high-tech caucus vote officially announced on Twitter. Newspaper deadlines were already being missed left and right.

At 6:59 p.m., Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus – the guy who put the strong arm on Nevada to move its caucus from January 14 to February 4 – tweeted from his iPhone: “Thx @nvgop – keep the results coming – nice work!”

Depends on your definition of “nice work.” Priebus would surely live to regret that tweet by night’s end.

At 7:39 p.m. – with still just 10% of the caucus vote officially released – Romney took the stage at his victory party.

Seven minutes later, the Nevada GOP tweeted that 14.3% of precincts had now reported in, with Romney ahead of Gingrich 39-29%.

At 7:54 p.m., Steve Sebelius of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweeted: “Coming up on one hour AFTER @nvgop originally said we’d get Clark results. And still no Clark results. What’s with?!”

“What’s with,” indeed.

Two minutes later, the Nevada GOP released results with all of 16.6% of precincts reporting. Romney ahead by about 11 points over Gingrich.

At 8:25 p.m., the party actually went BACKWARDS; tweeting results with 15.1% of precincts reporting. Unbelievable.

By 9 p.m., the party still had only released 1/5 of the precinct results.

At 9:27 p.m., Molly Ball of The Atlantic tweeted: “Actual vote total at Adelson School night caucus: Ron Paul 183, Romney 61, Gingrich 57, Santorum 16.”

Obviously, the Paul robo-call was effective, but it’s hard to see how the party can accept these results.

Indeed, the Las Vegas Sun reports this morning that “While many of the participants in the evening caucus qualified under the religious exemption, others – who missed the morning caucus for a variety of reasons including work, illness or oversleeping – said they signed the declaration anyway so they could caucus.”

In other words: They were ineligible to vote by the established rules…and they lied.

At 9:53 p.m., Spillman tweeted that the sundown caucus was concluding “with a 70s costume party and free food.”



Oy vey.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

At the same time, the Nevada GOP tweeted that “787 out of 1,835 precincts” had been counted. “Just awaiting counts from Clark County!”

I say again: My precinct wrapped up voting before 10:00 a.m. – and just about every other precinct in Clark County, not counting the sundown caucus, was finished voting by noon. TEN HOURS earlier!

At 10:26 p.m. Ralston started a new Twitter hashtag: #thingsfasterthannvgop. He started the ball rolling with “The evolution of man.” Others quickly joined in; if for no other reason than to pass the time. Some examples:

• Sebelius: “Glaciers carving valleys. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
• Ralston: “Reading Ulysses. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
• Sebelius: “Light from the most distant star reaching earth. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
• Ralston: “Bicycling from Las Vegas to Reno. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
• Me: “WALKING from Las Vegas to Reno. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
Kirk Caraway of Carson City: “The re-opening of the Ormsby House #thingsfasterthannvgop” (inside joke for Carson Cityites)
• Ralston: “The Hundred Years War. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
David Schwartz of the Las Vegas Sun: “Monorail turns a profit. Vegas houses no longer underwater. Unemployment in NV at 2006 levels. #thingsfasterthannvgop”
Karoun Demirjian of the Sun: “the line at the DMV #thingsfasterthannvccgop”
Guy Clifton of the Reno Gazette-Journal: “Getting @BrianSandoval to say he’s pessimistic. #thingsfasterthannvgop”

At 10:51 p.m. the ridicule went national, with Nate Silver of the New York Times posting this “Hangover”-inspired tweet: “Nevada GOP to release Clark County results just as soon as it figures out why Mike Tyson’s tiger is in their bathroom.”

At 11:00 p.m. I tweeted: “It’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your caucus results are?” No one did.

At 11:12, Ralston tweeted: “Even if the Mensa members down at Clark GOP HQ were re-counting every ballot by hand, it shouldn’t be taking this long.”


At 11:37 p.m. Danny Tarkanian – husband to Nevada GOP Chairman Amy Tarkanian, who is resigning officially as of today – tweeted: “Counting ballots at Clark GOP. We might not finish before my wife’s term ends.”

Ouch. I went to bed. But Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun soldiered on.

At 12:58 a.m. this morning she tweeted: “Multiple precincts in Clark where precinct capt’s weren’t diligent in signing people in. Ballot count doesn’t match sign-in counts.” She followed that up with: “Unconfirmed report that precincts with mismatched ballot/sign-in counts will be dumped. Lots of votes in question.”

Uh-oh. This is gonna get ugly. REAL ugly.

At 3:48 a.m. the Nevada GOP reported that 56% of precincts had officially reported.

At 4:06 a.m. it reported results with 70.4% of precincts officially reporting.

At 6:15 a.m., the liberal Public Policy Polling firm tweeted: “No one cares because it’s so lopsided but this is a WAY worse vote counting fail than Iowa.” It followed that up with: “I guess everyone who wondered how the Nevada GOP could be so incompetent as to nominate Sharron Angle has gotten their answer now.”


By 8:33 a.m. this morning, the vote count in Clark County STILL wasn’t complete…leading Ralston to tweet: “Which will come first: Final score of Super Bowl or final score of #nvcaucus? Any bets?”

Republican and Romney supporter Ron Futrell responded with “Which year SuperBowl?”

Morning Score chimed in: “Romney won an anti-climactic, 25-point victory in Nevada last night. The biggest loser appears to be Nevada’s Republican Party, which is still counting the ballots from Clark County.”

It added: “A river of criticism flowed across Twitter last night. Every political junkie in America was peeved with what they viewed as the inept Clark County Republican Party.”

Good grief.

Oh, and just to add a little insult to the injury, while Chairman Tarkanian predicted that 70,000 Republicans would turn out and participate in the caucus this year, it looks like my prediction of 40,000 is gonna be much closer.

Mercifully. Can you imagine how much worse this fuster-cluck would be if 70K actually had shown up?!!

Rubbing salt into this turnout wound, Silver wrote this morning: “New rule: if you don’t turn enough people out to fill your state’s largest football stadium, you lose early voting status.”

As well Nevada Republicans should.

The Nevada GOP this morning is a complete, total, national laughingstock. This is beyond embarrassing. This is beyond humiliating. GOP leaders here ought to be forced to wear brown bags over their heads from now until the convention.

Better yet, every one of them should follow Amy Tarkanian’s lead and resign. Today. Top to bottom. No party leadership would be better than what these folks have provided. What has occurred is inexcusable.

The GOP here has known about this caucus for FOUR YEARS. Nevertheless, it blew the opportunity to use it for voter registration gains. It blew the opportunity to get lots and lots of presidential candidates here early and OFTEN. It blew the opportunity to use it to raise a boatload of money via the Western States Republican Leadership Conference.

And it REALLY blew the opportunity to do the right thing for religious voters by waiting too late to do anything to accommodate them…and then not affording WORKING Republicans the same opportunity.

The final indignity. At 9:10 a.m., just before I finished this up, Ralston tweeted that “campaign attorneys (are now) involved.” Lord, help us.

And some people still wonder why I’m not a registered Republican in this state?

I’ve had enough. Time to get ready for Lingerie Bowl IX!!!


“You are not going to have another Iowa. We will have an accurate vote count.” – Nevada Republican Party Chairman Amy Tarkanian in a tweet to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at 9:07 a.m. this morning


  1. RON PAUL 2012!!! We are the revolution, the Constitution is back in style.

  2. Nevada State GOP Executive Committee EAT$ $HIT! VOTE FRAUD!

  3. I am the caucus captain of the 18th precinct of Lyon county Nevada. The vote count was 5 Romney, 4 Gingrich, 4 Santorum, 3 Ron Paul in my precinct. I was very careful to count and annotate the vote. I voted for RP and so did two others. Frankly, I was disappointed by the votes cast by other precinct members. We had some lively discussion, but in the end, they were mostly NeoCons. Shame really.

  4. Muth, you’re the man! Just wanted to hear something other than ‘ROMNEY WINS BY A MEGA MORMON LANDSLIDE!!!’ …Ron Paul 2012! (voter fraud or not)

  5. So you live in Nevada, but you’re a registered Republican in another state?

  6. Who ever said I was a registered Republican in another state? I’m not.

  7. Throw our all of the republican gop and rebuild one tith honisty,integrity and remember this fiasco send them all to the trash heap.

  8. The GOP continues to lose my respect.

  9. What can I say? Nevada gave us Harry Reid. Must be infectious.

  10. Again, the leadership of the republican party continue to disappoint. The leadership of the party does not represent the best interests of the American conservative. Time to flush leadership again and again until the leadership finally understands that the voting mass of conservative will not tolerate incompetent leadership, nor a leadership willing to cave to “moderates” at the expense of conservative backing.

  11. CTLovesNathanHale

    Chuck, you are a blind man without a cane — no way did the Paul campaign robocall people and tell them to commit felonies — quite a lie you repeat there! Did it ever occur to you that the reason Ron Paul won that special orthodox Jewish caucus is because he won the orthodox Jewish vote, or that those totals which were reported widely and nationally reflect the real reason the state party couldn’t count the votes in a timely way? Like you, they just couldn’t see all those Paul ballots as real, so they kept counting until it came out the way THEY wanted it to.

  12. You moron. Paul supporters have aleady ADMITTED to the calls. Pull your head out from where you can see your own pancreas.

  13. Who has checked the source of this “robocall”? It was sent by whom? Who would want Paul vote put in question? Stop the conclusion jumping and check the facts.

  14. Ginger, please readjust the tinfoil on your hat.

  15. I too received the “Robo-call” Saturday evening, and it in no way suggested that I Caucus again, or did it advise anyone else to do so. Someone is faking a story here, and I hope Mr. Muth checks with other people before attesting any truth to that person reporting. The confusion should not have occurred, and the idiot who caused the ruckus, by refusing to sign the Declaration, should have stepped aside, and allowed the other voters to proceed. One person does not make for corruption, and the only problem I witnessed, was the lack of Precinct workers, and the need for last minute volunteers. It worked smoothly at my location.

  16. Mr. Muth, the properly worded message I received, which did not suggest a re-Caucus, was from Carl Bunce. If someone else sent a robo-call saying something else, it probably didn’t come from the Ron Paul campaign. Thank you for the story! Let us hope the Clark County GOP can begin to do better.

  17. From yesterday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal:

    A series of robo-calls to potential caucus-goers may have contributed to the chaos surrounding the event.

    Several people said they received calls stating that if they missed an earlier caucus for any reason, they could show up at the sundown caucus.

    “It said if you couldn’t vote today to come out here and you could vote,” said Ed Klapproth, who missed caucusing at his precinct because he was volunteering at another.

  18. The GOP circular firing squad is at it again. They are very effective at shooting themselves.

  19. Chuck – To be clear: I had and have no ties to the Paul campaign this time around.

    I received a robocall, but it didn’t say what was quoted from your unnamed source. It said that if I hadn’t had a chance to participate in the morning, to try to attend the evening caucus site. That’s very different than telling people to caucus twice.

    I also don’t understand the point of allowing only Jews and Seventh Day Adventists to attend the evening caucus. I see no practical difference between Jews, SDA, and people who couldn’t arrange to get off from work in these lean times. They all should have been allowed to participate in what everyone in the party claims to want to be an inclusive process. And the party should have made this a condition of allowing Sheldon to have his own private caucus.

    And something that nobody is considering: Jews and Seventh Day Adventists can use all the numbers they can muster. Seems to me there were a lot of converts created on Saturday evening. We may not have same day registration for Republicans, but we did have instant conversions. Seems like religion had a better day than the Nevada Republican party.

  20. Sheldon did NOT get his “own private caucus.” That’s bull.

    I don’t disagree that others who couldn’t be at the morning caucus should have been allowed to participate in the “sundown caucus,” however, that issue was raised, debating and voted on by the Central Committee. The rule was the rule. Those who intentionally, willfully and knowingly broke the rule and lied on their affadavit ought to be prosecuted.

  21. Ha! Ha! Go Newt !!!!!!

    Having a good time out there are you???

  22. So who is tilting the votes ? and what are the true results.?
    I feel the Dem’s were behind this Chaos.
    Did all these voters show there voters ID and picture ID before voteing?

    At Newsmax, i read that if it was Newt, and Obama
    Newt winning 61 % Obama 39 %

    Obama and ROMNEY
    Obama 51% ROMNEY 49%
    For my money i think Newt would be a better choice.
    But then again Obama has ABC news and Muth on his bank roll.

    The good Lord will have the last word, at the right time. Amen

  23. Paranoia will destroy ya, “GOP 2012.”

  24. Chuck – I and others complained last time that religious Jews were being excluded. It’s pretty obvious that we were not billionaires and our complaint went nowhere. Sheldon had a clear favorite candidate this time, so there was a special caucus. Yeah, it may have technically not been Sheldon’s caucus. But in every real sense, he birthed it.

    The truth of this entire process is that since the delegates are bound by the popular vote, what we held was a primary, precinct by precinct. And an exclusionary one at that. We have a lot of workers in Vegas who work on Saturday. It would probably make a lot of sense to go to either a system like the current one with a built in workers/religious evening component, or a straight primary.

    It also seems to me that we have real crime for the DA and police to handle. People claimed to be Jewish? I won’t lose any sleep over it. I do, however, expect to see them all at synagogue next Saturday. Attendance will be taken.

  25. Your beef is with the Clark County GOP, not Sheldon Adelson.

  26. I have no beef with Sheldon Adelson. Never said I did. Were I in his position, I might have tried the same thing. In fact, I’d have no problem if he wanted to adopt me, I could use the allowance. You are quite correct. My beef is entirely with the party.

    Don’t know if you’ve been around for the meetings, but it’s awfully lonely being a Jewish Republican in Nevada. I can’t tell you all the meetings of my party that are opened in Jesus’ name. And when I complain . . . well, I’m not Sheldon Adelson.

  27. The fact he uses an”unnamed source” is too convenient and saying they admitted making Robo Calls doesn’t mean people responded but I wouldn’t blame the people supporting Ron Paul when it isn’t enough to see their candidate blacked out or out of the picture completely during debates. Now it seems they aren’t even aloud to complain about it without being called “Rabid” or “PaulBot” by the alternative flavor of the month voter. It’s hard to figure out just what is your point in all this, that the caucus was chaotic?

    Whoa like that’s never happened at just about ALL of them.

    But it does make for a nice excuse to blame Paul people without looking like that was your main intention. Wouldn’t want to get anyone angry with all the death threats and envelopes with white powder being mailed to everyone voting for the Darling of the GOP Mit Romnobama, from the Paulbot campaign.

    When it’s a Straw Poll and Ron Paul wins, it’s been hacked or FlashBombed by “Paultards” how do they know? Well because Ron Paul can’t win that”s how they know.

    What they don’t understand is, treating ANY candidate like they have Ron Paul is an affront to every voting American, whether you like the guy or not it simply SHOULDN’T BE HAPPENING it isn’t fair and it isn’t right and the Paul supporters have every right to be as angry as if it was anyone else candidate.

    If he is mentioned on TV they can’t resist calling him “un-electable” and if Ron Paul could walk on water, the headline would say,

    Ron Paul can’t swim.

  28. This is childs play compared to what Acorn type organisations do to register and skew votes

  29. Did it occur to you that Chuck Muth himself was the SOURCE of the anonymous quote in the LVRJ about the robocall from the Ron Paul campaign? It’s utterly false, but Chuck is known for his circular arguments, making things up and then referring to his fantasy as “proof” for what he says in his next post. Nice try, Chuck.

  30. As an outsider, couple things that simply baffle me here. First, there are hundreds of casino and service workers who are disenfranchised by the NV GOP’s rediculous process. 99% 9AM caucuses and then fold up the tents and leave as soon as it’s over? No recourse for these people to caucus on the Strip where they wouldn’t have to leave work? No night caucus except for ONE where you have to drive and then you supposedly can’t vote unless you have some kind of religious reason? NV GOP ought to just go to some type of primary process with early voting that is completely inclusive instead of all this party insider gaming for demographics.

  31. “And it REALLY blew the opportunity to do the right thing for religious voters by waiting too late to do anything to accommodate them…and then not affording WORKING Republicans the same opportunity.”

    If I were a Republican casino worker in Vegas and had to work on Saturday morning I would SUE the NV GOP. Frankly, I can’t see how some won’t do just that with these crazy rules set by the party there.

  32. Big talk, “RINOHunter”…from someone too chicken to put his real name behind his delusional comments.

  33. I am an elected delegate from precinct 7532. The 12 votes sealed in the official envelope were 4 romney, 4 paul, 4 gingrich. I did a google search for ‘nv gop caucus precinct 7532’ and only one place had a list of precincts votes. on this list it said Precinct 7532: Romney 17, Gingrich 13, Santorum 6, Paul 4.

    Can you get the truth with this, Muth?

  34. I’d also like to know whats up with Landon’s comment. Second investigating this serious voter fraud, coming from an elected delegate no less!

  35. It had to be corruption. I honestly wonder if Paul did not actually win Clark county but we’ll probably never really know.

  36. @Landon

    I assume you got the results from!/page46

    The official results are on twitter at

    If you look at precinct 7532, the result matches your sealed numbers:

    R 03 7532 GIN 4 PAU 4 ROM 4 SAN 0 NOV 0 (1/1)

    I do not know where they got the results at the ronpaulforums but it appears that those results were posted on 2/04 while the official, correct one was posted on 2/05. This could have been one of the reasons why there was a recount but without knowing where the ronpaulforums got those results from, no attempted fraud should be assumed.

    So in your precinct, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. However, there are a few things worth investigating. An example is precinct 6734, where all votes appeared to be tossed out:

    R 03 6734 GIN 0 PAU 0 ROM 0 SAN 0 NOV 0 (1/1)

    According to the ronpaulforums, Paul won that precinct:

    Precinct 6734 Romney: 7, Paul: 10, Gingrich: 2, Santorum 0

    Also, there are precincts like 8250 and 8236 that are present at the ronpaulforums but have no entries on twitter. Are these even valid precincts? If they were, did the GOP toss the results out? If so, why didn’t they list the results as 0 on all candidates like they did in precinct 6734?

  37. As a person who was asked to chair my precinct in Clark County the morning of the caucus I know why the GOP should be hanging their heads. It was disorganized all out of proportion to the amount of people that were there. As for the “counts”, I am still unable to find my precincts anywhere. And that is after following all the listed roll calls and sign ins that were asked for. If anyone does not think there is fraud, please show me precinct 4501’s results and where to find them. Count of votes at the time Ron Paul 7, Mitt Romney 6 Newt Gingrich 3 and Rick Santorum 1. The voting didn’t even take place till after 10 pm, so it wasn’t an issue of an early vote.

  38. Quick fix. The vote happened after 10 AM. Still unable to find my precinct totals. Oh and as for the Robo Call issue. As a person that received this same call, it did NOT tell people to go caucus again. It listed it as for voters who missed the morning caucus. The GOP should be ashamed of themselves for the rampant chaos of the whole event.

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