Henry Herford Jr., chairman of Ron Paul’s LAGOP 2012 convention, being arrested after attempting to organize his delegates. Screenshot via YouTube.
Several supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sustained injuries while being arrested during the Louisiana Republican Party’s state convention over the weekend, in a conflict that engulfed the meeting after Paul’s supporters overwhelmed other delegates and voted in new leadership, only to be ignored.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) won the Louisiana primary and received 10 delegates, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) took second, earning five delegates along with it. Paul finished fourth in the primary, behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), but his supporters dominated the state’s caucusing process in April, meaning he stood to gain as many as 30 delegates at the state convention.
And with an audience widely stacked in his favor on Saturday, it seemed likely that Paul would again emerge from a state convention the unexpected victor… That is, until the LAGOP chairman turned the process on its head.
The conflict hinged upon an alleged violation of the state party’s rules by Chairman Roger Francis Villere, Jr., who’s headed up the LAGOP since 2004. Paul supporters claim he called upon a former Rules Committee chairman, who had been defeated the night prior, in order to implement rules that would marginalize Paul’s delegates. That’s when Alex Helwig, a Paul supporter who’d claimed he had won the race to chair the rules committee, stood up and objected to the chairman’s actions, only to be ignored.
As Helwig’s protest continued, cameras caught Villere saying: “This is not debatable. He is the chairman of the rules committee. I would ask you to sit down. We told you to sit down… I’m going to ask you to be seated, or I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I’m going to have you escorted out if you don’t leave.”
“Mr. Villere, with all due respect, it pains me to do this,” Helwig responded. “I supported you in your run for Lt. Governor. You are a good man.”
“This is not debatable,” Villere replied. “I don’t need this.”
In a video published to YouTube, police officers seize Helwig by both arms and drag him out of the room, breaking several of his fingers in the process, according to Ron Paul 2012 press release. It all transpired as as the crowd chanted: “The chairman must remove! The chairman must remove!”
That’s when the convention split.
Paul delegates moved to request more information on the chairman’s decision, but he continued as if they weren’t present. So, they decided then and there to elect a new chairman, picking state central committeeman Henry Herford Jr., a Paul supporter, to lead the party.
When Villere refused to acknowledge the vote, Paul’s delegates picked up their chairs and turned away from him, forming a new convention on the spot and passing a microphone to their new chairman.
Moments later, Herford, too, was seized by police. Camera-wielding Paul supporters surrounded the fracas as Herford pleaded with officers to be gentle due to his prosthetic hip. “I have a handicap! I’m handicapped!” he said as they pulled him to the ground.
Herford said later, after he was treated for dislocating his prosthetic hip, “It felt like somebody had kicked me, brought me down. They said I was resisting arrest, but they never said I was under arrest. I didn’t leave when they told me to leave, but I never was told to leave… I have a room here in this hotel and I’m on the state central committee. I don’t know how I could be in an improper place.”
John Tate, Ron Paul’s national campaign manager, said, “Mr. Herford has a prosthetic hip and according to a doctor at the scene it appears as though the prosthetic was dislocated and may require replacement. The injury occurred as he was beginning to call to order the newly re-formed convention.”
A Shreveport police spokesman later told Reuters that Herford resisted arrest and was ultimately cited for the misdemeanor offense of remaining on private property after being forbidden.
Tate characterized the incident as Herford being “attacked by some security officials who didn’t realize that the body had voted out the previous chairman.”
The re-formed convention, however, was not recognized by the LAGOP hierarchy, which went on to select its own delegates. Paul supporters also selected their own delegates, claiming they had a clearly established majority. There was no resolution between the two groups.
Tate called the outcome a “positive conclusion,” following a meeting between Paul delegates and Romney officials, who pledged to help ensure Paul’s supporters have a voice at the national convention. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured at the convention,” he said. “And, we thank all responsible convention participants for ending the day on a more unified note.”
With the LAGOP descending into chaos, the Republican National Committee of contests will be tasked with deciding, purely by fiat, which group of Louisiana delegates will be allowed to represent Louisiana at the party’s national convention in August.
Paul delegates are already on the outs with the RNC, which has threatened to block the Nevada delegation for allegedly seating too many Paul supporters. Romney supporters in that state have instead thrown their support to an outside group called Team Nevada, which The Las Vegas Sun‘s Jon Ralston called a “shadow state party” set up to conduct establishment Republicans’ political affairs in the swing state.
Other states have seen similar post-election surges for Paul, and he’s encouraged his supporters to continue using arcane party rules to essentially replace neoconservative Republicans with more libertarian-minded officials.
The LAGOP did not respond to a request for comment.
This video, showing the arrest of Ron Paul supporter Henry Herford during the 2012 LAGOP state convention, was published to YouTube on June 2, 2012.
The staff member for Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) who was caught on tape kissing the married congressman has been "taken off the payroll," the News-Star reports.
On Monday, the Ouachita Citizen published a surveillance video purporting to show the Republican congressman kissing Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, his married district scheduler. McAllister later admitted that the video was of him, and apologized to his constituents.
"There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness," the congressman said in a statement. "I'm asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my...
Molly Reilly | The Huffington Post 09 Apr 2014 Hits:850 Louisiana
More than a year before the actual U.S. Senate election, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity launched television attacks against Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., for her support of “Obamacare.”
Then, a Democratic super PAC, the Senate Majority PAC, aired TV commercials beginning in December blaming U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, for the government shutdown.
Meanwhile, the national Republican and Democratic parties are signing up many hundreds of volunteers to focus on door-knocking and much more in every Louisiana voting precinct for the 2014 Senate campaign.
The Democrats have the “Campaign for...
Jordan Blum | The Advocate 05 Jan 2014 Hits:706 Louisiana
A new statewide poll is out on the 2014 Louisiana U.S. Senate race — and it’s not good news for Sen. Mary Landrieu‘s GOP opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy. The government shutdown he supported has damaged his struggling campaign.
According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), Landrieu now leads Cassidy 48 percent to 41 percent.
“Voters oppose the shutdown 60/30, and 47% say they’re less likely to vote for Cassidy for the Senate next year because he supported it compared to only 32% who are more likely to,” PPP reported. “Landrieu’s lead grows to...
Robert Mann | Bob Mann Blog 24 Oct 2013 Hits:530 Louisiana
Have you noticed the competition between Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter? No, these two Republicans aren't on the same ballot. But with all their silly stunts and phony outrage of late, they seem to competing for the title, "Louisiana Politician Who Most Hates Barack Obama."
For Jindal, that title would only advance his 2016 presidential ambitions. And it wouldn't hurt Vitter, either, who may be plotting a race for governor in 2015.
Vitter, of course, joined Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tea Party) to threaten a government shutdown if Congress won't...
Robert Mann| NOLA.com 29 Sep 2013 Hits:664 Louisiana
It is unacceptable that we stand on the brink of a government shutdown because of some of my colleagues' disdain for a policy that is already the law of the land. Since its inception, Congress has thrived as the legislative body of this great nation, drafting laws that benefit those we serve with both parties understanding the value of compromise to achieve a greater purpose.
Fast forward to 2013, and we have a party in the majority that only throws the word compromise around when it suits members' advantage. Compromise does...
Rep. Cedric Richmond | OpEd 27 Sep 2013 Hits:702 Louisiana
Louisiana Republicans have been gloating recently since three prominent Democratic legislators switched their party allegiance to the GOP.
Last week, state Sen. Rick Ward III, of Maringouin, joined. RW3 is the son of District Attorney Ricky Ward, a powerful political force in the heavily unionized Baton Rouge west bank parishes.
The rumor around the State Capitol is that Ward is angling for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, which requires more conservative credentials than his Senate District 17.
Former Democrat Jim Fannin, of Jonesboro, who chairs the budget-writing...
Mark Ballard | The Advocate 21 Jul 2013 Hits:487 Louisiana
When surveying the current legislative session in Baton Rouge a number of questions leap to mind. One is: what's the point of this so-called conservative majority up there?
The session promised to begin with a bang. Lawmakers arrived poised to debate a huge deal: an overhaul of Louisiana's tax system that Gov. Bobby Jindal pitched as a means of attracting new business and boosting employment.
Instead, plagued by a lack of business support and a mangled introduction that forced him to raise the targeted state sales tax, Jindal "parked" his tax overhaul...
James Varney | Times Picayune 24 May 2013 Hits:694 Louisiana
As the shutdown of LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center in northern Baton Rouge occurred and patients made the trip to private clinics, so too did U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.
The Republican congressman from Baton Rouge was a longtime physician and liver specialist at the Earl K. Long facility when he won election. Cassidy has continued to see patients part-time since he’s been in Congress.
This past week, he saw his first patients at his new clinic in an “attractive office” near Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
Cassidy has announced...
Jordan Blum | The Advocate 13 May 2013 Hits:788 Louisiana
One of the consequences of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policy of shrinking state government is the impact of cuts on good programs. But crisis is the mother of inconsistency, and once again the anti-government administration has tried to offset budget cuts by raising fees for some state programs.
This time, it was the Early Steps program for developmentally delayed children, run by the Department of Health and Hospitals. DHH sought a fee for families getting therapy or treatment for children through the program. DHH hoped to raise $1.7 million more a year.
The Advocate 06 May 2013 Hits:668 Louisiana
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu on Tuesday found herself in line to possibly chair the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, if she wins reelection next year.
The dominoes are set to potentially fall in place for her after it was announced that U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., would retire and not seek reelection in 2014.
Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee and that would open the seat. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is next in line of seniority to replace Baucus as the finance chairman.
Assuming Wyden makes the switch, Landrieu, D-La., would...
Advocate Washington Bureau 23 Apr 2013 Hits:704 Louisiana
Sen. Mary Landrieu's re-election campaign reported Thursday that it raised $1.2 million during the first quarter of 2013, leaving the three-term Democrat with $3.46 million in available cash for her 2014 race.
Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive
Landrieu's campaign reported that two prominent Republicans are helping her raise money, shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger and real estate investor Joe Canizaro.
The campaign of former Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who announced his candidacy for the Senate last week, earlier announced he had raised $500,000 during...
Bruce Alpert | NOLA.com 14 Apr 2013 Hits:750 Louisiana
Concerns about next year's budget continued to pour in Wednesday to the House Appropriations Committee, which took a second day of testimony from the public about Gov. Bobby Jindal's spending proposals. Robert Aguilar, a board member for the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network, or LATAN, asked lawmakers to provide money for the program that works with disabled people to find technology that can help them work, study or cope with daily life.
Food banks sought money for their assistance programs.
Charles Castille, a former health department administrator representing the Louisiana Rural Hospital...
Associated Press 12 Apr 2013 Hits:681 Louisiana
Lawmakers on both sides of the gun control issue reacted cautiously Wednesday to a new bipartisan deal to expand background checks on the eve of a critical vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled a Thursday vote on a motion to proceed with debate on gun control legislation, including the new bipartisan proposal. It will need 60 votes to block a threatened Republican filibuster.
The only Louisiana members who spoke directly about the new bipartisan proposal were Reps. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, and Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson. Richmond said support from two long-time...
Bruce Alpert | NOLA.com 10 Apr 2013 Hits:447 Louisiana
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy is running for the Senate next year, seeking to keep Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu from a fourth term in office.
Cassidy, a Baton Rouge doctor elected to Congress in 2008, will release a video Wednesday announcing his candidacy.
The video was provided to The Associated Press by someone associated with the Cassidy campaign who asked not to be named because the announcement had not been made public.
In the announcement, Cassidy describes Landrieu as too close politically to President Barack Obama, who remains unpopular in Louisiana.
Melinda Deslatte | AP 02 Apr 2013 Hits:849 Louisiana
Will Louisiana taxpayers continue funding Bobby Jindal's right wing revisionism and biblical pseudoscience?
If Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) gets his way Louisiana taxpayers will continue funding private school curricula rife with right-wing revisionism and biblical pseudoscience.
Jindal’s voucher program spends tens of millions of dollars in state funds to send low-income students to one of 134 approved private schools. But the Louisiana Supreme Court will rule this month whether it’s constitutional to divert public funds to private institutions. Also of concern is the misinformation peddled in several...
Steven Hsieh | AlterNet 07 Mar 2013 Hits:1130 Louisiana
Early in January, Louisiana’s educational policies were given an overall grade of B- from Sacramento-based education reform lobbying group Students First. The group gave failing grades to 11…
First Georgia Gulf polluted their town, and then it destroyed it. Now the fight has turned to their forebears' graves.
Former residents of Revilletown, Louisiana —an African-American community torn down…
1 Rank of New Orleans in fastest growing US cities between 2010 and 2011. Source: Census Bureau.
1 Rank of New Orleans, Louisiana in world prison rate. Louisiana imprisons more…
One Louisiana school is dealing with the state’s high rates of teen pregnancy by taking an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. No pregnant students are welcome at Delhi Charter…
Thousands of Louisiana students will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools. What will they learn there?
This 2012-2013 school year, thanks…
State Treasurer John Kennedy holds two books listings contracts for the Department of Education. Kennedy spoke with The News-Star Editorial Board in May. / Margaret Croft/Gannett…
The state's new voucher plan could eventually cut public education funding in half.
Late last month, the state of Louisiana unveiled a new school voucher program, joining 14 other states…
Henry Herford Jr., chairman of Ron Paul’s LAGOP 2012 convention, being arrested after attempting to organize his delegates. Screenshot via YouTube.
Several supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sustained…
A New Orleans women’s health organization was destroyed last week by an unknown arsonist, becoming the latest target of attacks on women’s health clinics in the south.
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Legislators Who Have Cut Ties With ALEC