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Republicans at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference claim that Mitt Romney won their straw poll by one vote.

One vote

Even if I believed that's actually what happened, there are some other things going on in my opinion. A week before the conference, the SRLC changed the voting schedule.

The former Massachusetts governor won a test vote of likely 2012 presidential candidates – by one vote. He got 439.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in second with 438 votes, followed by Sarah Palin with 330 and Newt Gingrich with 321.

...

Over the three-day conference, 1,806 ballots were cast.

In my opinion, Mitt Romney is being groomed by the powers that be in the Republican Party. They know that Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin are the heart of their bigoted party, and maybe one of them will be the VP choice as a token in order to get out the 'crazy vote.' But I don't think the GOP has any interest in letting a legitimate democratic process actually decide who their PRESIDENTIAL candidate in 2012 will be. If they did, their base would choose a lunatic and they'd inevitably lose the general election.

Just 2 months ago, Ron Paul beat out Mitt Romney by 10% points at the CPAC convention. Personally, I think the GOP saw how bad this makes their party look and vowed to make sure there wouldn't be a repeat. So how did Romney overcome this 10% deficit to win the SRLC straw poll? Were the attendees at the SRLC less conservative?

Here's a list of the major speakers at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:

Thursday April 8:
Liz Cheney
Newt Gingrich
Mary Matalin

Friday April 9:
Bobby Jindal
Sarah Palin
Tony Perkins
Rick Perry

Saturday April 10:
Haley Barbour
Ron Paul
Tim Pawlenty
Mike Pence
Rick Santorum
Michael Steele
David Vitter

This is straight Teabagger fair. This isn't the kind of speaker list that the corporate bigwhigs who support Romney go to see.

Romney wasn't even in attendance at the conference!

So what did they do? I think the GOP saw what was going to happen, and made some last minute changes to the voting schedule:

This is the latest updated agenda for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) being held next week in New Orleans, Louisiana. The big news in this update is that it appears that people will be able to vote in the straw poll on both Friday and Saturday.

So for all of you that were still waffling on whether or not to attend, thinking that you would have to stay two days (e.g., Palin speaking on Friday and the straw poll on Saturday), it looks like you could make a day trip of things and just come in for Friday.

If the vote had been held on Saturday as planned, instead of both Friday and Saturday, many people might have seen Ron Paul's speech on Saturday and given him their vote.

I think it was a pretty clever trick by the conference organizers. They let people vote on Friday fresh off Palin's speech, and then sent them all home.

I think the conference organizers realized that Romney was likely going to lose to Paul again, so they changed the voting schedule to split the Teabagger vote between Palin and Paul, so that Romney would win.

Originally posted to banderson on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 12:33 AM PDT.

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