Politics

Ron Paul: Is the GOP Trying to Steal His Louisiana Victory?

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The campaign of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) thinks so, as detailed in this account from CNN of the fate of Louisiana's contested delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August. It gets complicated, hold on tight:

The Ron Paul 2012 campaign is preparing to challenge the entire slate of Louisiana's 46 delegates selected to attend the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa, Florida. 

Ron Paul's rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired

Paul's campaign asserts the final list of delegates released Friday that were selected during the state party's convention last month were chosen against the rules. At the time, Paul supporters held their own rump convention, or protest vote, in the same room, which composed a majority of those attending.

Paul's political director Jesse Benton gets tough:

"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."

The victory Paul's campaign says it won in Louisiana was very much a result of intelligently making use of the caucus's very republican process, not pure democracy:

During the March 24 primary, Paul received only 6% of the state vote, while Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney received 49% and 27%, respectively. While Paul didn't receive a great turnout then, his supporters organized to win delegates during selection votes in each district and the state convention.

Out of the 30 delegate slots selected at the state convention last month, about half were left open to be filled by the state executive committee at a later date, leaving open the possibility of more Paul delegates to be selected.

Under state party rules passed in May of last year, the executive committee can provide supplemental rules to the original ones adopted, as long as they aren't inconsistent with the original ones adopted. The rules leave the State Central Committee to elect many of the delegates, who must also sign an affidavit prepared by the state party. The affidavit essentially binds them to certain candidates, minimizing the opportunity for the campaign to convince other delegates to switch their vote.

The party was prepared to award Paul 17 of the delegates chosen at the state convention, but his supporters refused to participate in the selection process, instead holding their own separate vote. Benton says some of the Texas congressman's supporters were kept from voting during the selection process.

"The Louisiana GOP insiders, realizing they were in the minority, grossly and repeatedly violated their own party rules to try to railroad through their preferred delegation," he said.

Louisiana isn't the only state where Paul's people think they are being screwed:

Paul's campaign is also making challenges to delegates in Massachusetts and Oregon, though not their entire slates. Currently, he holds the majority of delegations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Maine. Under RNC rules, a candidate needs the majority of delegates in five states to enter their name into nomination.

Louisiana GOP director Jason Dore thinks the Paulites should just shut up and take it, because, Obama!

"It seems they are all caught up in these personal motives, and not focusing on the picture. And the big picture is electing Mitt Romney in the fall and defeating President Obama," Doré said.

Simultaneous with this Paul campaign efforts are a non-campaign-approved lawsuit to get all RNC delegates unbound where Paul partisans think they can be talked into actually voting for Paul and not Romney. I reported on that suit last month.

My blogging on the Louisiana brouhaha as it occurred, and the complications of Paul's delegate strategy in general from April and May.

My book, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.