Paul supporter is ejected from GOP gathering
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
March 16, 2012 12:00 AM | 7390 views | 37 37 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLARIFICATION: Former Cherokee Republican Party Vice Chairman Brian Laurens says he is a Newt Gingrich supporter. It was stated otherwise in the March 16 edition of the Cherokee Tribune. Also, after Laurens was removed from the county convention last Saturday by the Sergeants-at-Arms and was questioned by police, he later was allowed to return to the GOP meeting. Ron Paul supporters challenged parliamentary procedures and not delegates at the local convention.

CANTON — A nationally orchestrated plan by Ron Paul supporters to disrupt county Republican conventions in an attempt to get their delegates elected to the national convention in Tampa, Fla., made waves in Cherokee County and resulted in police making an appearance at the gathering of local GOP members.

Canton Police officers were dispatched to the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center Saturday afternoon after a party member allegedly refused to follow parliamentary procedures during the delegate selection process.

According to an incident report from the police department, First Vice Chair Brian Laurens was ejected from the convention for interrupting the procedures. Laurens, who on Thursday called the incident minor, resigned from his position with the party in the days following the convention, citing family and business obligations as the reason he was stepping down.

Pete Costello, who chaired the convention, said several vocal supporters of the Texas congressman were “trying to create chaos” by “popping up” during the proceedings, and challenging every nomination for delegates to the district convention. Costello said that despite the disruptions, the county GOP had a successful convention and got their delegates chosen.

Other conventions around the metro area also had issues with the Ron Paul supporters. And conventions in Maine, Washington state, Alaska, Nevada and North Dakota were also allegedly interrupted by supporters of the candidate.

In Cherokee, local party leaders said the meeting did take a long time and got tense at times, but ultimately ended in success.

According to the police report, John Marinko, the county’s vice chair for events who was serving as the sergeant-at-arms during the convention, told the officer that arrived in response to a call for help that Laurens did not follow the rules during the meeting.

Marinko said in the police report that Laurens, 29, was asked several times to “conduct himself in a proper manner,” but refused to do so.

The report alleges Laurens refused to sit down and, when asked to do so, began yelling and “causing a scene.”

Fellow sergeant-at-arms Lawrence Mrozinski, who told police that he spoke with a “final authority” at the convention who wanted Laurens removed, offered Laurens one more chance to calm down, but he refused.

Mrozinski told police Laurens became physical when Laurens “body checked him with his chest and stomach,” and placed his hands on Mrozinksi’s shoulders.

The report indicated Laurens was informed he could return to the proceedings if he calmed down.

When reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, Laurens said the incident “wasn’t really anything.”

“The sergeant-at-arms was being a little bit outside of his power of what he thought he could and couldn’t do,” he said, noting that’s all he wanted to say about the incident.

Laurens, a graduate of Kennesaw State University, has been a campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, statewide field director for former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and consultant for Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs).

Along with serving as first vice chair, Laurens has served as precinct chairman, a county officer, a district officer and has served on the Georgia Republican Party State Committee.

Marinko on Thursday said the events were “anti-climatic,” adding there were some people not abiding by parliamentary procedures during the meeting.

“It was totally out of order,” he said. “It did take up time and it did cause a disruption.”

Marinko said Cherokee’s disruption was not as “monumental” as Republican conventions in Cobb, Gwinnett, and DeKalb.

He added that Costello, along with county chairman Bob Rugg “were able to handle the situation very respectfully.”

“They (Ron Paul supporters) were just trying to make their presence known, which is fine,” he said. “That’s part of the democratic process. As a nation, it’s one of our rights to free speech and to be able to discuss issues and concerns. They had some legitimate concerns and we took all those things into account.”
Comments
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waitingforgodot
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December 19, 2012
Will the cherokee tribune ever correct this?

Brian Laurens engaged himself in a physical altercation with the sergeant at arms after being told to sit down for being a nuisance. Then he engaged himself in an verbal altercation with a woman much older than he is -- I'd say easily more than twice his age.

Guy's a manchild. I feel sorry for his wife & kid. Articles like this only encourage his thought that he can get away with whatever he wants.
Lets Seek Truth
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March 20, 2012
Paul supporter is ejected from GOP gathering



Thank you for the clarification to you article.

While your at it, could you change your headline to say :

NEWT GINGRICH SUPPORTER IS EJECTED FROM GOP GATHERING

otherwise this misinformation is forever on the web. Thank you
DHfromCherokee
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March 20, 2012
I think the "Clarification" does not to justice to the mis-information provided in the article and should be a more obvious redaction and apology.

I was at the convention and Mr. Laurens, even though being a Gingrich supporter, was standing up for the fair process just like the Paul supporters. This story should be completely re-written as the Cherokee GOP attempting to prevent fair election process, but at the end deciding to work in some cooperation.

Fortunately things settled with the Chairman apologizing, along with others that were in disagreement. The delegate selection process became non-standard with people volunteering to transfer their seats to those who could actually attend. A final slate was agreed upon without a challenge process. While the process wasn't perfect, it was a show of cooperation by all involved.

The GOP needs to embrace new involvement rather the shutting it out. New people are getting involved out of sincere interest in improving our country representing the people rather than possessive power by few.

Karen Ross
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March 18, 2012
So we have homegrown biased media with an agenda - parading as journalists.

First her headline says:"Paul supporter is ejected from GOP gathering" The person ejected was Brian Laurens who is NOT a Paul supporter. He is a Gingrich supporter.

Second, Ms. Dixon says there is a "A nationally orchestrated plan by Ron Paul supporters to disrupt county Republican conventions". What is her evidence for that? There is a WELL publicized official effort by the Ron Paul campaign to ELECT DELEGATES. It's called PARTICIPATION starting in caucus or mass meetings. Does Ms. Dixon love authority so much that she thinks participation to influence the course of events is DISRUPTIVE? Disruptive to whom? the masters she prefers?

GOPJOE
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March 18, 2012
The first paragraph is a LIE. The people that disrupted the meeting were the establishment good ole boys who didn't follow the rules of the meeting.

The Ron Paul supporters were duly elected delegates from their precincts in Cherokee County.
GTfromNC
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March 17, 2012
Nationally orchestrated? hmmmmm, funny, I didn't know about it. Was Romney people, too, who were complaining.

RON PAUL THIS YEAR!!
Stephen Johnson
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March 17, 2012
The title of this article is FALSE!! It should read, "Newt supporter is ejected from GOP gathering". I don't know what they are trying to accomplish here by saying Brian Laurens is a Paul supporter but it's not true at all. What I think really happened hear is that Brian saw some things going on at the convention that he didn't agree with. He was actually trying to keep the process fair and honest and some of the GOP guys didn't like that and were basically trying to "shut him up". He ended up giving his delegate seat to my sister who was not even a delegate at the convention but a guest trying to get nominated from the floor. Kristal Dixon is a crappy reporter and needs to do a little more research apparently.
Ashamed GOP Officer
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March 17, 2012
Brian Laurens is NOT a Ron Paul Supporter. This story is WRONG in that point.

There was state wide efforts by the "establishment" GOP to keep so called "activists" from "taking over" the party.

I would actually phrase that as keeping new members from participating in the party.

Party members that are speaking out against this are being threatened to be ejected from the party. This would be why Brian Laurens is not available for comment on this.

It's corrupt and wrong at the most base level.

The state level GOP leadership frankly scared that their grasp on the party is slipping and that the actual GRASSROOTS will be heard at this state convention.

Speak out about this to you party, your friends and neighbors.

c4lcncpls
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March 17, 2012
The GOP are doing a great job of building their base. After November, you might as well change them from the Elephants in the room to the wooley-mammoths. They will become extinct.
At the Meeting
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March 17, 2012
Brian Lauren on face book doesn't say anything about being a Ron Paul Supporter, just part of the Republican Party.

Also, from what I saw,if the Ron Paul people had not stood up they would not have had a voice at all.

They seemed very respectful and knowledgeable. But were determined to have a voice. I believe at one point the chair yelled, "Sit down and Shut Up".

The man was just trying to talk about fair participation and get clarification of the rules.

Later an apology had been made and the day ended with mutual success.

RonPaul Makes Sense
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March 16, 2012
THERE IS NO "nationally orchestrated plan by Ron Paul supporters to disrupt county Republican conventions in an attempt to get their delegates elected to the national convention." What hogwash!
Vikki Entrekin
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March 16, 2012
‎"A nationally orchestrated plan by Ron Paul supporters to disrupt county Republican conventions in an attempt to get their delegates elected to the national convention in Tampa, Fla., made waves in Cherokee County and resulted in police making an appearance at the gathering of local GOP members."

This first line is a conflict and in error. Delegates are not elected to the national convention at the county conventions. Making waves would certainly not assure that anyhow.
Constitution Hour
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March 16, 2012
I was there, the guy in question was not a Ron Paul supporter he is a Gingrich man. Ask him.

The disruptions were caused by the Chair trying to push through the slate of delegates without a proper vote. We simply wanted some integrity in the process. The way it went down is a shame. There were 332 slots available for delegates and alternates and 213 people willing to fill them.

There is no reason to exclude anyone, yet that is exactly what was being done. How? By duplicating names on the district list with names from the State list.
Kapem
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March 16, 2012
This story is very inaccurate. I attended the convention, and this article in no way represents what actually happened. Kristal, I am going to send you an email now, and I hope you will remove, or correct this story.

Eric
anonymous3412
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March 16, 2012
This Laurens guy is not even a Paul supporter; if you check his facebook page he's Newt all the way.
Convention
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March 16, 2012
Umm, I think this article needs to be retracted.

There was no Ron Paul supporter ousted from the convention. Brian Laurens is a Gingrich supporter. The convention had tense moments but went pretty smooth.
Some Other Valerie
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March 16, 2012
Oh! Guess what! I did a little digging and it turns out Brian Laurens is definitely a Newt supporter! Whaddya know! And I don't even have a journalism degree...
Some Other Valerie
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March 16, 2012
Are you sure he's a Paul supporter? He sure seems to be a Newt supporter on his facebook page. I'm sure the reporter thought to check there first, didn't you, Kristal?
kzh
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March 16, 2012
The guy who was ejected was actually a Newt supporter. Do some actual research and you'll find that out. What he was protesting was that improper parliamentary procedure was being followed. If a county convnention is not held within the bounds of the rules, it risks the entire convention being nullified. This was not some faction of the Republican party against another, it was somebody standing up for democratic processes and the rule of law. More people need to do that just as more people need to call out bad journalism.
GOPJOE
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March 16, 2012
Why did the writer leave out the part when the Chair, acting WAY outside parliamentary procedure, started yelling and told everyone to "SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!" Robert's Rules are very clear, and so long as the Cherokee County GOP establishes as a rule at the very start of the meeting that it will be conducted under Robert's Rules, they might want to try following them.

Boss Hogg's rules would be more fitting for the GOP status quo.
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