Skip to comments.St. Petersburg straw poll votes were cast with cash (Romney buys victory)
Posted on 11/29/2007 5:08:43 PM PST by traviskicks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Mitt Romney bought himself a victory in the straw poll for Republicans at a rain-shortened barbecue in Vinoy Park.
Romney got 893 votes, besting second-place Ron Paul's 534 -- despite Paul's shuttling in supporters on a rented trolley and shuttle. The campaign had a plane sporting pro-Paul slogans and a boat touting him, too.
In fact, Paul supporters dominated the crowd, which reached an estimated 1,000 people. Tickets for votes cost $20 each.
So how did Romney do it?
"I voted 20 times," Derek Gyongzois, 38, of St. Petersburg exclaimed after casting ballots.
He said he works as a volunteer for the Romney campaign (and begged a reporter not to print his 20-vote tally). Did he buy the tickets?
"I don't have that kind of money," Gyongzois said.
He wasn't the only person voting more than once. Paul supporter Mike Wagner, 57, of St. Petersburg: "This thing is rigged."
Before rain cut short the event, Paul supporters were voting multiple times, too.
"This is the best election money can buy, anywhere," said Pinellas County GOP chairman Tony DiMatteo, a Rudy Giuliani supporter. Giuliani received 39 votes, followed by Mike Huckabee's 37 and Fred Thompson's 21. John McCain had 12; Duncan Hunter, 4, Alan Keyes, 2; and Tom Tancredo, 1.
Romney takes a hit
Mitt Romney played in an organized flag football game at Flora Wylie Park in St. Petersburg with his five sons, staffers, supporters and the media.
Romney laced up his Mizuno running shoes and played for 10 to 15 minutes. Teammates included former state Republican chairman Al Cardenas and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. They all got pretty sweaty.
"My son Matt tackled me," Romney said. "But fortunately he didn't throw me to the ground and make me eat grass."
McCain meets teens
Sen. John McCain greeted supporters at the Parkshore Grill in St. Petersburg before the debate. A good portion of the crowd included high school students invited by the McCain campaign.
Devin Watson, a junior at Northside Christian School, said she became aware of McCain when she saw him as a guest on The Daily Show.
Kevin Burkett, a sophomore at Northside, said he likes McCain's "prowar stance" and the fact that he's a veteran.
"I think it's cowardly to cut and run," Burkett said.
McCain told the teenagers that if they don't like the way the country's run they should become politically active.
Rally stays peaceful
A mishmash of activists gathered in St. Petersburg's Pioneer Park, calling for political change and participating in a straw poll. The crowd included members of 30 organizations, including the Democratic Party from Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, Veterans for Peace, the Florida Green Party, the Libertarian Club of Pinellas and the South St. Petersburg Democratic Club.
So who won? Ron Paul, whose supporters arrived in buses, crushed the field. He took 240 of the 322 votes cast. Dennis Kucinich was the closest competitor, at 26.
Down the street, more than 100 homeless men and women and their supporters rallied across from the Mahaffey Theater. Later, nearly 400 people marched down First Street S carrying placards with messages such as "Jesus was homeless, too" and "Ron Paul is my homie."
The homeless and their advocates, who had been rallying outside the Mahaffey since Sunday night, had predicted a showdown with police. But that confrontation never materialized.
Instant gratification department
According to a survey of Republican voters who watched last night's CNN/YouTube debate, the winner was ... Mike Huckabee.
The InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research/Florida Chamber of Commerce survey, in which voters participated by calling into a toll-free phone line, gathered opinions from 341 GOP voters. The margin of error is 5.25 percent. Here are the results:
Huckabee: 44%; Giuliani: 18%; Romney: 13%; McCain: 10%; Thompson: 5%; Paul: 4%; Tancredo: 1%; no winner: 5%
DNC cancels debate
The Democratic National Committee has canceled a Dec. 10 presidential debate in Los Angeles because of a potential strike by CBS news writers.
The debate, which was to be televised by CBS, faced uncertainty after the network's news writers voted to authorize the Writers Guild of America to call a strike. After that vote, the major Democratic presidential contenders announced they would not participate in the debate if the labor dispute was not resolved.
Times staff writers Jennifer Liberto, Cristina Silva and Janet Zink contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press.
[Last modified November 29, 2007, 19:36:33]
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I guess the committee felt raising money was more important than getting a useful result (not that there is any useful result from these anyway).
old mitt a man of principle!
Straw polls always seem to be about cash.
Duncan Hunter had a great comment after the Iowa straw poll when he said he didn’t pay for people to come vote for him. His voters came and paid their own way.
“The debate, which was to be televised by CBS, faced uncertainty after the network’s news writers voted to authorize the Writers Guild of America to call a strike.”
Dems need writers for a supposedly live debate?
If I read this right, didn’t it say that Ron brought in people on Buses? Not really a victory if true.
It's the American Idolization of voting... Disturbing trend.
Some other street theatre was provided by homeless activists and their annual streetfight against the town fathers, some street theatre was given by the Global warming protesters, but the main event, the airplane banners, the snipe signs, the car decorating and the face painted was Ron Paul hands down.
They had three separate event sites - The Vinoy Park (with the Republican Party) , they occupied tables at Pioneer Park, were the Democrats gathered. There, they outnumbered any other candidate, even Dennis Kucinich. They rented the Palladium, and from there spilled into the streets, drinking heavily.
At Vinoy Park, the location of the outdoor mainstage, Giuliani, the front runner in the polls, had a table with four college students. Mitt Romney Had about sixty supporters, who became quickly annoyed with the boisterous rabble. Romney people came prepared to vote for friends and family, who had other things to do. Mike Huckabee had fifteen supporters. John McCain had none. Fred Thompson had a half dozen stalwarts.
The Ron Paulers stood in long lines to vote in the straw poll. Each bar-b-que meal cost $20, this entitled the bearer to one vote. Voting was managed by Debra Clark, Supervisor of Elections, on official electronic touchscreens. The young Paul activists held cameras on other voters as they voted, to make sure that no one cheated. Their scrutiny verged on intimidation, the vote was in fact a nominal contribution to the party.
Onstage, between karaoke sets of Neil Diamond covers, Mitt Romneys son spoke. Congressman Gus Bilirakis spoke, the chair of the Pinellas Republican Party spoke, Congressman Bill Young spoke, a few others spoke. What ever they said had no import, because to this crowd, all that mattered was Ron Paul REVOLUTION. Ron Paulites showed marginal respect for other candidates and attendees. Mercifully, rain came and cleared the field, and the jumbotrons played only to a few concession workers.
And what was it that is so motivating the populist street movement? Why would prostitutes sing the praises of a pro-life Republican? A few conversations with any Ron Paulite would get back to the same road.
Paraphrased it goes something like: There is an international, New World Order, Jewish banker conspiracy to bankrupt this nation. We have been preyed upon by corporations, George Bush and Dick Cheney. While we may need an investigation to determine just what their culpability in 9-11 was, there is no doubt that the Iraq war was illegal, and only Ron Paul can stop this hell bound train. Oh yeah, that is the conservative liberterian view, the radical Paulites think that George Bush and Hillary Clinton are puppets of the Extra-terrestial overlords who have seeded this planet. The human race is a captive genetic experiment on prison planet earth were they can abduct people, mutilate cattle, and communicate with crop circles.
So who won? Ron Paul, whose supporters arrived in buses, crushed the field. He took 240 of the 322 votes cast. Dennis Kucinich was the closest competitor, at 26.
So Ron Paul won a straw poll with Dems, Greens, and Libertarians. But he's the only real GOP conservative candidate.
Y’know, in watching the debate last night I felt that the least of the Republican nominees was light-years better than whatever the Democrats could put forth in opposition.
But I have to say, I find Romney the LEAST appealing, and most smarmy candidate of the lot.
Ron Paul, as whacky as he is, is at least genuine, and he touches a chord when he want speaks of a limited government role in our lives.
But Romney? I dunno....seems like he’d take any position that would appeal to the base, whether he believed it or not.
He looked like a fool on the “gays in the military” planted question....
Far out, dude.
Bong hits 4 Paul.
Can ya dig it ?
Yeah, dude, i’ll be able to figure out how they planted those bombs in the world trade center after just one more bong hit...
america is, like, shooting innocent children and puppies in the middle east when the terrorists just, like, want some attention, i bet they’re pretty cool once you sit down with them and share a blunt, ya know man?
ron paul is groovy. its the revolution man.
The event is a fundraiser, you are supposed spend money. Next, the scandal of Romney supporters giving to the United Way. Since when is spending money in support of Republican liberty a crime? When Ron Paul loses.
As best as you can tell, were the Ron Paul supporters, generally, of one age group or do they span all ages?
However accusing a fellow freeper of “voter fraud” is a serious charge... I forgive them, for now. But I will monitor this situation so that I can get.... in before the zot.. Please be mindful that I am not in any way suggesting that you, or your local Republican Committees should take advantage of these young Paultard Republicans, just so your club could pad your committee treasury. That would not be right. This method of fund raising should only be attempted by trained professionals, hard core veterans of chad wars, lest there be riots in the streets.
Just curious about how these people have the money to print so many signs, rent trolleys, ?? rent the Palladium??
Wondering if they have backing of someone who has A LOT of money and would like to see the Republican vote split to ensure a Dem victory. I know....cynical, paranoid...can’t help it these days......
The bottom line is that even on our best Republican turnout, we only manage 65% of registered voters. On a light turnout, if we fail to energize our base, the passionate fools may win. Telling lies can get you an energized turnout.
Nothing brings us together more than laughing at Paul Supporters.
A formal straw poll is common in American political caucuses. Such straw polls can be taken before selecting delegates and voting on resolutions. The results of straw polls are taken by the media to influence delegates in caucus later (as well as delegates to political conventions), and thus serve as important precursors. Straw polls are also scheduled informally by other organizations interested in the U.S. presidential election.
Well-known American straw polls include the Ames Straw Poll and the Texas Straw Poll, both conducted on behalf of the Republican Party. Being run by private organizations, they are not subject to public oversight or verifiability. However, they provide important interactive dialogue among movements within large groups, reflecting trends like organization and motivation.
Straw polls are not indicative of a broad base of support, particularly in the early stages of a campaign. But they can be used as a tool to build such support by a campaign that has a core of committed supporters, a strong organization to rally around and a well funded candidate. They are one more method of marketing a candidate to the public and/or party activists.
Bottom line though, is this: its the way the American electoral system works and its nothing new. But then, most who are making this "Mitt bought the poll" charge aren't doing it to preserve the integrity of the voting process. They're trying to knock of the frontrunner with any and all accusations they can find or manufacture. I've never seen so many crocodile tears.
I would really ask just how much of that came out of the Paul campaign. Because as we know the message of liberty and freedom spawns supporters willing to spend their own money as necessary. Unlike the campaigns of the 7
dwarfs losers other fine candidates
No one, well at least not me, is accusing you of voter fraud. The Republican party is free to raise money however they see fit and within whatever rules they see fit. The main issue here is the media reporting on the issue, with the Romney campaign likely hoping for ‘Romney won’ headlines, without qualifiers, making it sound like all these people showed up at this straw poll to vote for Romney, that he has all this support in Fl, which is why the campaign spent the money, for the positive press.
But there appeared to be, at very least, some misconceptions on what the rules were before hand, which is also an issue, but, again, the main point of this article is to show what actually happened, versus what is portrayed in the media.
In fact, we got these same reports from the Ames Straw poll, that people were being paid for their time to go vote for Romney in IOWA. Not that this is illegal, but the false portrayal of the significance of these by the media is troubling...
lol! wow... interesting interpretation of events...
“despite Paul’s shuttling in supporters on a rented trolley and shuttle. The campaign had a plane sporting pro-Paul slogans and a boat touting him, too.”
So the ‘principled’ Ron Paul tried to buy a straw poll victory by bussing people and got out bid/outsmarted by Romney in this fundraiser. So to get a victory he’s got to hang out with the Kucinich wackos and run with the Green Party. LOL.
“They just got beat at their own game and are pissed, thats all. I hate to say it but good work.
Nothing brings us together more than laughing at Paul Supporters.”
"No Problemo dude, just tell them we will be late to the vote!"
"Can't dude, ran my cell phone battery down spammin' those phone polls..."
"That sucks dude."
Respectfully, I have no way of knowing whether you are indeed the person portrayed in these videos.
Facts are very important to Ron Paul supporters. This is the very reason I posted these videos, so the general public could see what the biased media would not report. I gave the man in the aqua shirt opportunity to defend himself and published his defense publicly, as well. Furthermore, in my descriptions of my two videos that feature the man in the aqua shirt, I state observable facts only, and there are no verbal accusations made in either of those two videos.
In good faith, I will amend the description of the interview video to remove the words “For the real story,” since they could be misinterpreted, and I will add the man’s statement to the description of the voting video.
I will respect your request to have these two videos removed if you will send an email to email@example.com with an attached photograph of yourself holding a note card with the word “ufsparky” legibly printed on it. This is so I can confirm your identity.
mission9 Original Message:
> I did not give you permission to use my video image in any public forum. You would need a signed co...
I accept your apology.
My identity nor my integrity is not what is in question here. You attempted to pull a little Ron Paul scam on me. You do not know me or my level of participation in the Republican Party, but when you come into your neighbor’s house you should come with the expectation that your neighbor is a right and honorable man. You and your campaign entered this event with a chip on your shoulder, and the result was misinformation, and dishonor for Ron Paul.
I am being kind to you in this instance, though you may think me harsh. Imagine if one of the old ladies who were upset with the boisterous behavior at this event had suffered a coronary. What if it had been your Grandmother? I love each of those ladies as my own family and I would lay down my life for them. You think that I am kidding young man, but once before, I have had to sling one such passed out granny over MY shoulder and haul her to the para medics. I tell you this truly.
Now if you truly are a seeker of truth, you will contact the St. Petersburg Times and correct the bogus story of Romney “buying” an election. Maybe one day, in the future, you will have the privilege of raising the funds to continue the work of freedom at the local Republican Club, until that day do not impugn the hard work of those who kept the lights of freedom burning while others played childish games.
Respect your elders, even though they may appear to be frail grannies in tennis shoes, they are angels.
Plus with Bin Laden giving up on Iraq, well they are apt to be in a foul mood right now.
Friend’s of Rudy disimformation believe what you want I am sure you will if is is negative of Mitt.
But most of Florida is made of fomer NY’ers including honest and dishonest people!
Dick Morris, who had previously worked for Bill Clinton, advised Huckabee on his races in 1993 and 1994. Huckabee commented that Morris was a “personal friend”. A newspaper article reported on Huckabee’s 1993 win: “Morris said the mistake Republicans always make is that they are too much of a country club set. What we wanted to do was run a progressive campaign that would appeal to all Arkansans.’” Morris elaborated, “So we opened the campaign with ads that characterized Mike as more of a moderate whose values were the same as those of other Arkansans.” In 1996, Huckabee ran for US Senate again and won the Republican nomination. He quit the US Senate race in order to become Governor.
It’s the American Idolization of voting... Disturbing trend.
Actually I wouldn’t mind a Survivor type voting where you vote out the weakest at the primaries and end up with the best person standing. I almost think that would be a better system. Yes I know it is sad, but right now the system does not seem to great.
Ron Paul was not bussing in people to the event, however it appears that many misrepresent his volunteers as his staff. Unfortunate really.
I was there, and I know that many Paul supporters believed that their single vote counted in something very important. $20 is a lot for the average American, especially a fundraiser ticket.
And if they really didn’t matter, why was the Board of Elections supervising with secure polling boxes?
If I may ask, what percentage of people around America know that Straw Polls are devoid of accuracy and they still pay for their accuracy with tax dollars? I would say less than 1%. You?
was there, and I know that many Paul supporters believed “that their single vote counted in something very important. $20 is a lot for the average American, especially a fundraiser ticket.
And if they really didnt matter, why was the Board of Elections supervising with secure polling boxes?”
Grasshopper, the supervisor of elections participates as a courtesy to help people who have never voted before with the experience of the machines. This is especially helpful to Ron Paulites.
Wouldn't you prefer that leftists be tricked into voting for someone who respects the Constitution, rather than we Republicans being tricked into voting for a gun-grabbing RINO like Guiliani?
No, I wouldn't, because Paul is for all intents and purposes what people understand to be an isolationist. Yeah, he pops off on the difference between isolationism and anti-interventionism, but the common understanding that he wants to pull back American troops to the borders and within applies. As McCain said, doing that will embolden The Next Hitler (or the next Hirohito) whoever that may be, just as it did in the isolationist period post-Great War (bka World War I).
If Ron Paul wins, he will do so on a wave of support coming from non-conservatives who will surely devastate the Republican party. The Dems will have the legislature, and claim even more than they are now that they are the voice of the American people. The looney left will OWN Ron Paul because their machines that installed him. And they would figure that if they could make him, they can break him. Gridlock would be the most optimistic result; a neophyte to executive office would be under intense pressure to compromise to get something done (see Schwarzenegger, Arnold).
Get a clue.
I submit to you that if gun-grabbing, abortion-supporting, cross-dressing Guiliani wins, it will much more thoroughly devastate the Republican party than a Paul victory would.
Look at the tattered fragments of the bankrupt GOP party in California in the wake of Arnold’s election, if you don’t believe me.
Gridlock would be a far better state of affairs than the rampant growth of government cost and power over the past decade or two.
Schwarzenegger only became the populist he is now after the GOP bungled his reform campaigns, and he threw his lot in with Democrats because he couldn't beat them. Greenies and Demos that support Paul wouldn't let him get away with anything truly conservative; they would do what the MoveOnCodePinkoANSWER crowd is doing with the Democrats, which is to say "You owe us. Dance, monkey."
Also, it was not US isolationism which principally empowered Hitler, it was aggressive foreign interventionism carried out against Germany in the form of enormous, multi-billion war reparations levied as punishment for its role in World War I. Check your history books if you don’t believe me. And that’s back when a billion was real money.
When Germany missed payments in 1923, French and Belgian forces occupied the Ruhr, which led to hyperinflation and an economic collapse. Once the German economy finally recovered from that, and later from the crash on Wall Street, a reparations payment schedule was laid out stretching to 1988, as hard as that is to believe.
It wasn’t “isolationism” or “non-interventionism,” but exactly the opposite, which led to the rise of Hitler on the wave of popular support of his pledge to end reparation payments.
And that's just what happens when you elect an unprincipled flip-flopping RINO to a position of power.
Grasshopper? Look, just because you miss my point does not give you the right to leverage yourself over me by alluding yourself to be wiser. I truly believe we both have certain skills that are superior, but I don’t beg people to let me teach them. I grant that caveat to my father.
I agree, kinda. I feel like mainstream GOP is pushing new people away just because they don’t know how to control them. While I agree that it would be amazing to integrate, I doubt it will happen ever. GOP is too focused on abusing the Constitution by distorting parts of it, all in the name of conservative values.
Only the abandonment of American isolationism stopped Hitler. Or are you, like the leftists who adore Gorbachev, going to insist that Hitler let himself be defeated for the sake of the world?
Paul wants everyone to believe that the U.S. can, under his leadership, turn back the clock and go back to a foreign policy philosophy that existed before the days of trans-ocean flight, spy satellites, and ICBMs. Sorry, Ronnie -- that moment has passed, and nothing's going to bring it back. Deal with the world as it is, not the way you wish it was.
Thank you for acknowledging and exemplifying my points.
You question my “right?” Let us examine the BILL OF RIGHTS:
As the Constitution says: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the PEOPLE.
So we would conclude that I have the right, and you, the constitutional student, would agree.
Now perhaps you meant to say “you have offended me by being rude” You have no right not to be offended.
As to the GOP “abusing the Constitution by distorting parts of it” Welcome to the struggle that we have fought since before you were born.
The GOP is wide open to those of talent and skill who wish to advance the cause of Liberty. I am looking forward to your help.
Today's lesson, sometimes it is better to remain silent and let others think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Abandonment of American Non-interventionism created hitler. Without US involvement in WWI, either Germany would have won the war or there would have been a negotiated peace. Either way, there would have been no support in a undefeated Imperial Germany for hitler & his nazis to rise to power.
Also, would a strong, united Germany have allowed the cancer of communism to take power in Russia? I think not.
Fascists came to power in post-WWI Italy because the Italians were led to believe that the Allies screwed them out of their "just rewards" due to them by virtue of the fact that they fought on the Allied side. Would the fascists have been able to use this argument to rise to power if they were not on the winning side in WWI? I think not.
The Allies extensively used, and were very dependent on native and colonial support during WWII. Countless future "freedom fighters" learned their trade by participation in WWII. Early defeats of Allied forces by the Axis, including European and American defeats at the hands of non-European Japanese, showed the third world that colonial powers were not invincible. Most colonial possesions of the European powers gained their independence because of the lessons of WWII and the fact that the west was weakened and war-weary after "victory". Problem is, they were not ready for self-government at the time. They needed generations of people to be educated in proper governance, as well as a drawn-out period of gradual transition to native rule to have had a chance to become peaceful and prosperous independent nations.
Would a third world have had a much greater chance at becoming functioning, peaceful and prosperous independent nations if the western powers had held power in the colonies longer and transitioned to self-rule over a long period? I think so.
You, and most other Ron Paul detractors argue that in "today's world", a non-interventionallist foreign policy would lead to disaster. I say that your position had it's way for almost the entire 20th century, and that it directly resulted in the bloodiest, most violent and destructive century in the history of the human race, and that it's time to try something different.
I think that history backs up my (and Dr. Paul's) position.
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