Ron Paul's Delegate Fight with the GOP

Paul's state victories are getting mired in legal and political challenges.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in his run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination was famously following a “delegate strategy” aimed at caucus states, rather than striving for mass popular votes in primary states. The advantage of this strategy is that its results were more malleable and less cut and dried than “you earn delegates based on the popular vote.”

Now the disadvantages of that delegate strategy are becoming clear: The results are more malleable and less cut and dried than “you get delegates based on the popular vote.”

In four states, the question of how many delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late August will end up dedicated to Paul is embroiled in challenges and appeals to the national party.

Last week, the Paul campaign challenged all 46 delegates sent to the RNC by the state party in Louisiana. The party honored the delegation of a small, rump anti-Paul faction that broke from the Paul majority during the state party’s June convention. As CNN reported:

"We believe that they grossly and blatantly and repeatedly violated their party rules and elected a delegation that was improper," said Paul's campaign chairman Jesse Benton. "We believe that our rump convention is the legitimate delegation and they have a right to be seated at the Republican National Convention."

Even some Romney partisans from the state are telling the RNC that the delegation the Louisiana state party is trying to send to Tampa is illegitimate.

Earlier in July, the Paul campaign challenged the Oregon Republican Party’s attempts to unseat—illegitimately, the campaign insists—some Paul alternate delegates.

Sixteen duly elected Paul delegates from Massachusetts who had their status stripped from them for refusing to sign affidavits (or in some cases supposedly filing them too late or with insufficiently specific language) swearing to vote for Romney even though they prefer Paul are challenging that action by the state party with the RNC. An affidavit from a stripped delegate, Brad Wyatt, explains that he was told by the state GOP chairman that he just didn’t trust Wyatt and that the Romney campaign had “just cause to refuse to certify you.”

From the other direction, in a state whose delegation Paul firmly controlled, Maine, a prominent Republican, Peter E. Cianchette, last week filed a challenge with the RNC to de-Paulify the delegation. He claimed, as the Associated Press reported, that “there were illegal votes at May's state Republican Convention, that a quorum wasn't present when votes for delegates were cast, and that convention officials violated party and parliamentary rules.”

These various challenges go before the national party’s contest committee in the next couple of weeks, and can be then considered by the credentials committee. What does all this state delegation tumult say about relations between the Paul campaign and the rest of the GOP? Clearly, on the state level, existing party apparati are not afraid of fighting Paulians outright. Paul fans are collecting grievances about sketchy party actions that worked to Romney’s favor across the nation.

USA Today a couple of weeks back ran a story—whose theme was supported by on-the-record comments from Paul’s political director Jesse Benton—spinning without much substance the idea that “the national party is welcoming Paul and his supporters to the event with open arms.”

The story didn’t have many concrete facts to support the thesis. It spun as a big favor to Paul that the party didn’t use its control over most of the available gathering spaces in Tampa to prevent Paul from holding a rally but in fact helped him find a venue. As Paul activist (he was the mastermind behind the famous Ron Paul Blimp in 2008) Trevor Lyman wrote in reaction to the USA Today story:

The RNC is offering Ron Paul a location for his own rally one day before the actual convention. This is NOT a speaking role, nor any kind of role, at the convention itself.  This is NOT an offer to influence the party platform, nor an opportunity to influence the debate.  Rather, this is an offer to put Ron Paul and his supporters into a ‘Freedom of speech zone‘,  a place where you’re allowed to protest and speak out, and that also happens to be at a location where no one can hear you.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, head of the platform committee at the RNC, told the Washington Times that he expects to see great influence from both Paul and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in terms of ideas in the platform. Yet McDonnell also says there’s “about 80 percent overlap of ideas between traditional conservatives within the party and the libertarian wing,” which elides both foreign policy and strong and immediate cuts in spending, areas where Paul’s people believe in a far smaller and less activist government than Romney does.

Investor and Paul fan Mark Spitznagel wrote at Forbes this week about the ancient Chinese pedigree of Paul’s strategy, which Spitznagel identifies as “shi”—“cultivating the influence of the present on the future” like the slow flow of water rather than a full frontal assault. Spitznagel says that strategy manifests in Paul’s slow accretion of support among the young and on local and state Republican parties without forcing the sort of big all-or-nothing fight that many Paul fans dreamed of seeing in Tampa.

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  • Lost_In_Translation||

    It costs Republicans very little to let Paul speak and add economic policies that overlap to their platform (like auditing the fed and reforming social security). That they're doing their best to prevent him from speaking or create the platform speaks to how broken the Republican brand is, how fearful neocons are to not being at war and how fearful socons are to losing focus on stopping "teh gays". This election should be about the economy, which Romney, Paul, et al agree on many policies (on paper), but the Republican brand is doing its best to not let Paul even have its stand on that.

    And people wonder why I think Romney and the gang can still "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory"...

  • Robert||

    This election will be about the economy (mostly) regardless of whatever the candidates talk about. At this point, and for some time back, the campaigns have been meaningless and will continue to be so. Nobody but observers here will pay any att'n to what they say, and they're paying att'n here only as a pastime. Obama's re-elections chances depended in no significant part on who the GOP put up to oppose him. It could've been Paul, Cain, Romer, whomever, and the vote would be the same.

  • danis||

    good

  • CE||

    "Welcoming Ron Paul with open arms" to Tampa would include giving him a prime-time speaking slot at the convention. He was a top four candidate by any measure, and a top two candidate by most.

    Why not encourage the Paul supporters? It's going to be a close election in November, and although many of us are going to vote for Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul or stay home, they could at least try.

  • CE||

    And I believe "pincher move" is supposed to be "pincer movement."

  • Robert||

    It may be a close one, but will be determined entirely by the vote for or against Obama. The only people who stand to benefit by trying to rouse support will be the people who sell them the tools to do so.

  • ||

    The republican party is all about the status quo. They talk a good game in some ways, but in the end they are about the status quo. So is the democrat party. Can you really tell the difference between the past three administrations?

    Anytime someone challenges the status quo, or threatens to, they get hammered. For christ's sake, at the Louisiana convention the establishment republicans had the Paul delegates assaulted by armed police when they saw that they were going to lose the vote. Basically they said 'vote the way you want, we have already decided how things are going to be. Challenge us on this and we will have you forcibly removed.'

    Personally I suspect the republican establishment would rather lose to the dems than have any kind of reformer rock the boat.

  • Bob W.||

    If there was an obvious difference, you wouldn't need the political media forces of Fox and MSNBC. They are there 24/7 to convince you they're different and we have choices.

  • BakedPenguin||

    So Where's "CampingInYourPark" to defend this? TEAM RED is sooo much better about liberty, right?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    For the reading comprehension impaired:

    CampingInYourPark| 8.1.12 @ 12:36PM |#

    "I'm in the RLC and have seen firsthand how marginalized libertarian ideas are in the party."

    I'm sure they are. I guess you now understand the GOP isn't a monolith. There are libertarians, social conservatives, and even a few progressives. Unfortunately, it's how politics works all over the world. There is no libertarian utopia. There is no progressive utopia. Jesus isn't coming back to form the perfect libertarian government.

  • Robert||

    Exactly. Everywhere and at all times, extreme ideas are marginalized by all major parties. That's how they became major parties. But at the same time, there is diversity within. It's like everything else in life that involves more than 1 person: a compromise.

  • HbcSteve||

    Many Good points in this article Thanks! This is not do or die...this took a while to happen so it will take time to reverse, but the younger generation is willing to move fast and strong! The more and more of them becoming aware to the fact! Big government is fat and inefficient and in bed with large corporations, big media, and Hollywood. They own so much debt now...They have to move quickly or become a debt slave. And what kind of life is that. To US older Americans....Shame on us for letting it get this bad. By Bad: "Meaning the massive debt and unbalanced budgets."Actively get involved! Be an educated voter. And not with just what you here from the TV. John Taylor Gatto a 30 year teacher from NY...Made much sense when I came across him on you-tube. Its a bunch deeper than you think. Get out there an educate yourself on these candidates and the history why they and we are here!

  • Proprietist||

    Will superdelegate Rand Paul vote for his pop or the guy he endorsed?

  • Robert||

    Yet McDonnell also says there’s “about 80 percent overlap of ideas between traditional conservatives within the party and the libertarian wing,” which elides both foreign policy and strong and immediate cuts in spending, areas where Paul’s people believe in a far smaller and less activist government than Romney does.


    Brian Doherty, are you implying that Romney is a traditional conservative?

  • Bob W.||

    We all know it's more important that Romney appear uncontested rather than keeping their dignity so all the appeals will go in Romney's favor. That's a universal constant at this point. No matter how outside the rules and prejudicial if it keeps Ron Paul delegates from getting to Tampa, it's legal.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck republicans and "socon" paternalist statist entitled douchebags. Republicans are socialists much like democrats.

  • ||

    Paul a location for his own rally one day before the actual http://www.ceinturesenfr.com/c.....onvention. This is NOT a speaking role, nor any kind of role, at the convention itself. This is NOT an offer to influence the par

  • Ardelle||

    From the other direction, in a state whose delegation Paul firmly controlled, Maine, a prominent Republican, Peter E. Cianchette, last week filed a challenge with the RNC to de-Paulify the delegation. He claimed, as the Associated Press reported, that “there were illegal votes at May's state Republican Convention, that a quorum wasn't present when votes for delegates were cast, and that convention officials violated party and parliamentary rules.”

  • nike free run||

    Pay close attention to subsequent events

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