Sunday, March 9, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – Maine’s delegation to the Republican National Convention is one of a handful of states being subjected to additional credentialing scrutiny in another apparent example of lingering tension over the bitter fight between national party leaders and Ron Paul supporters.
Delegation member said that Maine’s representatives will have to pick up their credentials to access the convention floor on a daily basis, whereas delegations in most other states can receive credentials for the entire week.
“The RNC said they are concerned about security and they want to make sure the people on the floor are delegates,” Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, said Monday morning outside of the room where Paul supporters were picking up their credentials. “I think there is a concern that there are folks who could be disruptive” on the convention floor.
Webster said he has heard that delegations from “a handful” of other states were also being subjected to additional scrutiny.
Not surprisingly, the change isn’t sitting well with Paul supporters already bitter about their weeks-long battle with the RNC and Romney supporters over the 20 delegate seats won by Paul supporters during the state GOP convention.
Citing major problems with the delegate-selection process during the state convention, RNC officials last week tossed out the list of 20 delegates, re-appointed 10 pro-Paul delegates and distributed the remaining 10 seats to people likely to support Mitt Romney. As a result, the majority of Maine's 24-person delegation now supports Romney.
Brent Tweed, who was elected chairman of Maine’s delegation during the state GOP convention in May, said RNC officials have also taken over responsibility of deciding which alternates should receive seats when the named delegate cannot attend.
“I’m delegation chairman and I should be handling this but it is being dictated to me,” Tweed said. Additionally, Tweed said indications are that vacancies for pro-Romney delegates within Maine’s delegation will only be filled with Romney alternates.
An RNC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday morning.
Finally, Politico is reporting that the delegations from Maine, Nevada, Louisiana, Minnesota and Oklahoma – all states with vocal Paul supporters within their delegations – were given less-than-ideal seat assignments on the convention floor.
“The delegation for the Northern Mariana Islands, on the other hand, is right in front behind the gang from Michigan, birth state of Republican nominee Mitt Romney,” Politico reported after obtaining a copy of the seating chart. “Other groups with pretty good seats include those from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. None has electoral votes that can impact the outcome of the election.”
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
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Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
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Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
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Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
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