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.”