Confrontation and alleged threats in Clarke Co. GOP infighting | News
ATHENS, Ga. (WXIA) -- The video is on Youtube, uploaded by a group of Athens Clarke County Republicans -- outraged by the Republicans who ran the party's county convention.
"I felt like I had been slapped in the face, because I had never seen anything as shady as this before," said Gary Warenfelt, who says he was a delegate at the Clarke County Republican convention - a step in the process that will choose delegates to this summer's national GOP nominating convention in Tampa.
Warenfelt was part of a group supporting Ron Paul, the Libertarian-leaning GOP hopeful, whose backers even concede is unlikely to win the nomination.
As seen in the video, the chairman tried to gavel the county convention to a close, as Paul supporters are heard making an effort to keep the meeting going-- because they say, the delegate majority they had won going into the convention had been decimated by party leaders.
"We had a two-to-one delegate majority at the county convention, and our rights were disenfranchised," said Shaun Lewis, another Paul supporter. "We were disenfranchised by the establishment leadership. They selected their friends and family members" as delegates to the GOP district and state conventions.
The video shows supporters of Paul following Republican leaders with video cameras, demanding answers - and the leaders sidestepping their questions and exiting the property.
County chairman Matt Brewster told us he "followed procedures as best (he) could." He declined further comment.
"It definitely hurts the credibility of the party," said Frankie Brown, another Paul supporter. "If you don't have any transparency or credibility at the local level, how can you expect to have it at the national level?"
This week, Republican leaders fired back by complaining to Athens Clarke County police, saying they had been harassed and threatened at their homes. Local Ron Paul supporters disavowed it as the work of zealots.
Brewster, the party chairman, says he expects the appeals of the Paul supporters to be decided at the state level.