Sunday, December 8, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – Maine supporters of libertarian Ron Paul were preparing Tuesday morning to take their weeks-long fight for a voice at the Republican National Convention to the convention floor.
After exhausting all other appeals, members of Maine’s delegation to the national event plan to ask the rest of the convention attendees to re-seat 10 delegates and 10 alternates who support Paul. The delegates and alternates were removed and replaced with Mitt Romney supporters by the Republican National Committee, which determined the state’s delegate-selection process was deeply flawed.
“I don’t know the chances of getting the motion passed but we have a lot of support on the floor,” said Brent Tweed, a Paul supporter who was elected chairman of the state delegation in May. “I think we have a chance but I know it’s a long shot.”
Of course, even “long shot” may be overly optimistic.
Although Maine’s delegation appears to have the support of Paul backers from other states – some of whom are planning their own appeals on the floor – they will have to convince the other GOP faithful in Tampa to support Romney that seating additional Paul delegates is in the national party’s interest. And RNC officials, who are determined to keep distractions to a minimum at the 4-day-long Romney pep rally, are unlikely to look favorably upon any unplanned floor activities by Paul supporters.
The question then becomes how will Maine’s remaining Paul delegates and alternates – already reduced by half by the RNC – respond if their efforts are defeated? While most of the Paul supporters voted Monday to boycott the rest of the convention, not everyone is on board with that plan. And Tweed declined to discuss the latest strategy on Tuesday morning.
Any action by Paul supporters as well as a potential floor fight over controversial rule changes will likely happen during the first floor session, scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The nationally televised evening session will feature speeches by, among other people, first lady hopeful Ann Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.Tweet
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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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