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.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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