On Thursday, McHenry County Blog ran a story about how Illinois GOP officials broke their own rules to make sure that Fred Thompson came in second in the party’s first straw poll. Here is how witness Jason Acebal described the end of the vote counting:
Although the polling times were announced to be from 11-4, they were extended when it appeared that libertarian, anti-war Republican Congressman Ron Paul would come in second.
Second place, of course, would mean Paul’s name might finally get some national media coverage.
Here’s the comment that was post on Illinois Review by the witness to the behind the scenes activities:
I am the person who saw the results as of 3:30 pm and forwarded them to Scott and others.
The running totals were on one of the GOP staffer’s laptops.
I saw the top vote getters (they were ranked in order of votes on the screen – Romney 348, Paul 151, Thompson 148 and McCain in the low 100s) and started a conversation when another Illinois GOP Party official ran over to us and said that this was not public information and told the person he needed to minimize the results screen.
I relayed the news and fought for the remaining half hour to get people to vote. We were able to get 23 additional voters for the final total of 174 votes, 10 behind Thompson’s “184″ votes.
We did not see any Fred Thompson representatives beyond a few Illinois politicians speaking on his behalf so God only knows how he received support beyond the GOP County Chairman who voted for him in a pre Straw Poll Ballot.
The suspicious bump in the final 38* minutes (20% of Thompson’s votes (184 vs. 148) were cast during this time frame (10% of the poll time) when the area was pretty much dead as far as new voters were concerned) is why we question the announced returns.
We saw all of Romney’s buses and were not surprised with his paid for victory but I was pretty disappointed when Andy McKenna presented the final tally with Thompson beating Paul by ten votes.
Then again, I was disappointed when Andy McKenna’s organization criticized Oberweis’ & Gidwitz’s 2006 Primary advertisements attacking the Party’s favored candidate (and Andy’s predecessor) Judy Baar Topinka.
The Topinka debacle resulted in many conservatives having to leave the party to vote for the more conservative candidate in the General Election. (1998 (Poshard) and 2002 Cal Skinner of course and 2006 Randy Stufflebeam).
In any event, Ron Paul finished ten times above the media’s much cited figure of “1-2%”.
No other campaign has an energized group of volunteer supporters putting their time and personal money into expenses including signs and literature. We need to continue to snowball this thing and it will take daily baby steps such as the Illinois Straw Poll and other events to slowly but surely increase the name recognition and support for Dr. Ron Paul, America’s final hope!
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And, as a bonus, here’s a YouTube video by Alpine Jones on what the Ron Paul supporters did at the State Fair. One certainly has to grant them the most enthusiastic supporters you can imagine. No wonder the Republicans felt uncomfortable.
Thanks to blogger Levois for alerting folks to this video.
Another bonus are these pictures.
You can turn it into a slide show. The lower picture comes from this slide show. I can see at least one Fox Valley Libertarian. Click on the photos and see if you can recognize anyone local.