Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster today warned members that Ron Paul supporters may attempt to hijack this weekend's state convention.
Webster, in an email sent to delegates and alternates, said that a representative from the Paul campaign had recently informed him that it intended to "take over" the Republican State Convention and the Republican State Committee during this weekend's proceedings at the Augusta Civic Center.
While Paul lags far behind GOP presidential hopeful and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, his enthusiastic supporters have pressed forward. The campaign has attempted to takeover state conventions in other caucus states like Maine where the final delegate apportionment has yet to be determined.
The campaign recently planned a takeover of the Minnesota GOP convention.
Paul supporters in Maine remain energized following a caucus controversy during which votes in some districts were not originally counted. The kerfuffle prompted some in the party to call for Webster’s resignation.
If Paul supporters successfully run this weekend's convention at the Augusta Civic Center the consequences for the Maine GOP could be significant. Some Republicans worry that such an outcome could threaten the funneling of national election money for GOP congressional and legislative candidates.
Webster’s email attempted to head off that result. He wrote that supporters of all the presidential candidates were welcome, however, he encouraged delegates to arrive early to ensure that Paul supporters don’t elect “their” convention chairman.
“I regret the necessity of writing this message, but unfortunately there are those among us who would choose to divide us rather than unite us,” Webster wrote. “Individuals who seem to believe that the overall good of the Party may not be as important as their candidate and their own personal political opinions.”
In related news, the Maine GOP announced last Thursday that Scott Romney, Mitt Romney's brother, would be the keynote speaker.
The prospect of a Paul takeover had increased calls within the party for a surrogate with enough star power to diffuse what could be a divisive convention. Some rumored names included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.