Presidential candidate Ron Paul never visited Forsyth County, but his reach reportedly impacted the local Republican Party’s convention Saturday.
According to convention organizers, Paul supporters disrupted the process and in so doing doubled the length of the gathering at South Forsyth High School.
“Several conventions had the same issues,” said Ethan Underwood, party chairman.
By Underwood’s account, a group of people tried to drag out the local convention, which was supposed to take just a few hours.
They asked largely procedural questions in the hope that other attendees would get frustrated and leave. Thinning the attendance would then increase the chances that Paul supporters could get elected as delegates.
“But we had most folks stay,” Underwood said. “We passed resolutions and we also adopted the delegate list.”
Peggy Green, who served as chairwoman of the nominating committee, said the eight-hour meeting was chaotic but productive.
“We had received an e-mail a couple of days before that somebody had sent out instructing people to not be honest about who they supported,” she said.
According to Green, Paul backers claimed to support the state’s frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, in an attempt to become a secret Paul delegate at the state convention.
“When we got home at 6:30 p.m., when I looked at everything, they really didn’t win anything,” she said. “We bent over backwards to pick the delegates and alternates that go to the state.
“I think they were misinformed, some of the people, about how the process worked. Because some of them were telling me they wanted to be a delegate to the national convention, and that doesn’t happen to someone who’s brand new in the process.”
Green said the length of the convention, which ran from 10 a.m. to after 6 p.m., likely set a record.
In the end, 55 delegates were elected to the District 7 convention, while 25 delegates were selected for the District 9 convention.
Most of Forsyth County is in District 9, with some of south Forsyth in District 7.
Sixty delegates were elected to the state delegation, as well as alternates for all.
There were about 165 people at the event.
“It was well run,” Underwood said. “It took a long time, but I was very proud of the folks that ran the convention, especially in the face of a lot of questions, which again, the information is coming out shows that the intention was to try to bog down the process.
“We did a good job of preserving the process and making sure that all votes were taken fairly.”