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‘No More NY-23s’

Kate Zernike has written a fascinating piece on the bare-knuckled political activism of the National Precinct Alliance, formed to make sure party committees were no longer able to nominate candidates that were insufficiently conservative and loyal to the base. There’s some focus on Nevada, a state that had a floundering and failing Republican Party infrastructure in 2008, but where Republicans are champing at the bit for 2010.

Advocates hold up the example of Las Vegas, where a group of about 30 people who had become friendly at Tea Party events last spring met to discuss how they could turn their crowds into political influence. One mentioned that there were about 500 open precinct committee positions in the local Republican Party.

They recruited other activists and flooded the committee — the Republican Party says it now has 780 committee people, up from about 300. In July, they approved a new executive committee, and Tony Warren, one of the organizers and a new precinct committeeman himself, said six out of seven executives are “constitutional conservatives,” in keeping with Tea Party ideology.

With the bulk of Nevada’s population in the Las Vegas area, the local committee was able to elect a conservative slate to the state party in December, including a state chairman who has said he wants to make the party “safe” for conservatives.

When I was in Nevada two years ago, libertarian-minded Ron Paul activists were furious at their treatment from the state GOP–despite coming second (ahead of John McCain) in the state caucuses, they were basically shut out of influencing the convention. That’s certainly changed.

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