From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Supporters of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul will have a major voice in Boone County Republican Party affairs for the next two years after taking 13 of 33 seats on the county central committee.

The "Ron Paul Republicans" contested 11 of 13 committee seats on Tuesday's ballot, winning seven. One of their losses was by one vote, as Boone County Republican Party Chairman Bruce Cornett defeated Greg Engel 396-395 for the Columbia Fifth Ward committeeman seat. David Clark took 259 votes in the three-way contest.


Supporters of the Texas congressman's small-government philosophy also took six seats where they were unopposed.

"It means we will have more influence," said Bruce Summers, Boone County chairman of Paul's unsuccessful presidential bid. "The central committee is what builds the parties up from the grass-roots level. We had some representation, but we didn't have very many people."


The Paul supporters will work to elect their members to other committees, Summers said. Paul's supporters were also elected in substantial numbers in Kansas City, St. Louis and St. Charles, he said, potentially enlarging their voice all the way up to the Republican State Committee.

"We want to be more involved and more of a voice in who leads the Missouri Republican Party and to influence more candidates," he said.

One of the main functions of a party committee is to select a candidate when a vacancy occurs on the ballot. Republicans went through that in the 47th House District, eventually nominating Mitch Richards, who is also among the Paul supporters who won seats on the county committee.

"Now people realize the importance of those committees," Cornett said.

More established Republicans should not fear the newcomers, Summers said. Paul supporters tend to be young and energetic, which every party needs, he said.

"When is the last time you saw an average age demographic like that involved in politics? The Ron Paul movement is the best thing that could have happened for the Republican Party," Summers said.