Ron Paul's Delegate Wars

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/19/2008 - 10:29pm.

The Ron Paul campaign's struggle to secure delegates to the Republican National Convention looks like the most exciting, if not the most important, under reported story of the year!

This is a story still in progress. It records an ongoing series of skirmishes being fought sporadically across America, with little publicity, under arcane rules that make it difficult to determine winners and losers. The final outcome will not be known for months. Yet it could be the most important story of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, and how it unfolds could affect that party's future more than any other single event this year.

That story is the ongoing struggle of the Ron Paul campaign to secure the largest possible number of delegates to the Republican Convention this Sept. 1-4. I have followed that struggle with interest since February, but have been discouraged from writing about it; some Paul supporters thought that it would reflect badly on the campaign for it to become generally known. However, now that some mainstream media are beginning to report on it, I think it best to start writing myself on this most exciting, if not most important, under reported story of the year.

Many Americans may think that the National Delegates have already been chosen. I used to myself: Before this year, I always thought that delegate slates were presented and elected on primary or caucus day. From following the Paul campaign, though, I have learned that that is not how it works.

How it does work varies from state to state; but the process generally follows this order: First, party members gather in local caucuses and choose delegates to county conventions. Next, the county conventions elect delegates to state and congressional district conventions. Finally, the state and district conventions elect the National Delegates.

Some National Delegates are bound to vote for the state primary or caucus winner through the entire ballotting. Others must do so on only the first two ballots; others on only the first ballot. In still other states, delegates are not bound to vote for the winner at all; the primary or caucus result counts as no more than a straw poll.

The Paul campaign has remained focussed on securing delegates, rather than on primary or caucus vote totals. "Our goal has always been to walk into the national GOP convention with as many delegates as possible," said Ron Paul 2008 campaign manager Lew Moore. "The number of delegates we [win] could very well be the difference in a Convention where no one has a first-ballot majority."

Even though McCain now appears to have a first-ballot win clinched, the Paul campaign continues to pursue the same goal. There are good reasons to do so. For one, Paul needs to be nominated by five states in order to appear on the ballot, and have a chance to speak at the convention. For another, delegates will determine the 2008 election platform; for the Paul campaign, which is about ideas rather than personalities, the platform is as important as the nominee.

Thus the Delegate Wars continue, state by state, county by county, delegate by delegate.


Alaska (where Paul came in third, wth 17% of the caucus vote) held its state convention Mar. 13-15, in Anchorage. Ron Paul Alaskans reports that, thanks to efforts at the district conventions, Paulunteers "were to were able to secure 105 delegates to State, or roughly 30% of the total." At the convention, the Ron Paul Republicans (RPR) managed to pass several platform resolutions, calling for repeal of the Patriot Act, opposing Real ID, and advocating abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Education. Another resolution, opposing the Iraq war, lost; author Chris McGraw notes that "we were simply unable to pull support from anyone outside of the Ron Paul delegates for this purpose".

The RPR also lost a heated battle to reapportion Alaska's National Delegates among the two remaining candidates, Paul and Sen. John McCain. That would have given Paul 14 delegates, and McCain (whom Paul beat in caucus) only 12. That motion died in Rules Committee, in part because "both the Romney and Huckabee campaigns sent letters to the convention explaining that their campaign "suspensions" were intended to reserve delegates rather than release them."

In return for dropping their delegate challenge, the RPR won a resolution calling for Ron Paul to be allowed to address the National Convention. "The motion was proposed by the chairman and co-chairman of the rules committee," Ron Paul's website notes, "who were so impressed by the conduct and ability of the Ron Paul delegates that they felt it was the right thing to do."

However, the battle for delegates continues. Heather Saarella reported, on Nolan Chart Mar. 31, of a successful project by the Alaska Ron Paul Delegates Meetup "to send our own media, in the form of a DVD, to every single registered delegate and alternate in Alaska." Organizer Ewan Cutler is now working to replicate that success nationally, organizig "a campaign that sends a DVD each month for four months to the national delegates and alternates going to St. Paul."


Nolan Chart correspondent Jahfre Fire Eater reports that at the Jefferson County convention in Colorado (where Paul received 8% in caucus), "there was a line of people at the Ron Paul table. Everyone at this convention is a [state] delegate. Those people in line are looking to sign up as Colorado Ron Paul delegates. They are former Huckabee people and Romney people and Fred people and Tancredo people.... The major topic of debate at the GOP breakfasts this week was how to hold your nose and vote for McCain. I'd say about 50% say absolutely no way in hell will they vote for McCain."

On Apr. 8, the Daily Paul reported that "The Colorado State Republican convention isn't until May 31st and no National delegates from the State have been selected. Nor will those delegates be bound to a candidate."


Though Paul took only 3% in the Florida primary, some party honchos see the RPR as a major threat. The Sarasota county Herald Tribune reports that local "party leaders are doing everything they can to block new members from joining the Republican Executive Committee. That has included freezing its membership and adjourning a monthly meeting early to prevent Paul supporters from speaking." "They want to take over the REC," county GOP chairman Eric Robinson told the paper.

Nolan Chart correspondent "Paul from Clearwater, Florida" recently reported on his local caucus: "I got about 30 Ron Paul meetup members to join and become Commmittee Members for the Local Republican Party.... We get there, roll call is taken. We each individually introduce ourselves. The Chairmen of our county and surrounding counties are there. Voting time comes around and THEY DO ALL OF THE VOTING. No one else. And of course they vote themselves in and it is over"

The Orlando Sentinel reports that "similar struggles are occurring in other Florida counties and states." In Orange County, party chairman Lew Oliver led a move to block Paul supporters from becoming precinct captains at this month's party meeting. In Pascoe County, Paul supporters were asked to publicly pledge their loyalty to the GOP.


Paul received just 5% of the vote in the Feb. 9 primary. However, as no candidate won a majority, by state rules the primary results are non-binding: All National Delegates from the state are officially uncommitted.

At the Jan. 22 caucuses, party officials violated several of their own rules in an attempt to freeze out the RPR. First, they held off calling the original caucus until Dec. 17 - ten weeks after the legal deadline, and two weeks after the deadline for registering Republican. Second, the deadline to file as a delegate was arbitrarily extended after Ron Paul supporters were the only ones to file a full slate in each congressional district. Third, officials used an out-of-date party membership list, to challenge Paul supporters and force them to cast provisional ballots.

Reports Ron Paul 2008: "Had the LA GOP followed its own rules, Ron Paul would have won 5 of the 7 state congressional districts, giving the campaign a majority of the state convention delegates, resulting in at least 35 delegates elected to the national convention in St. Paul."

At the Feb. 9 state convention, delegate Michelle Gaudin moved to have the official slate replaced "with a slate of delegates reflecting the results of the election had all votes been counted." Though the motion was voted down, having it moved allowed the campaign to contest the Louisiana delegation before the Republican National Committee's Credentials Committee. The question may not be resolved until the St. Paul Convention.

(To be continued ...)

George Dance - Libertarian - April 13, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/19/2008 - 10:29pm.


PAFreedom (not verified) | Mon, 04/21/2008 - 12:57am

I'm excited about the Ron Paul delegates that stand to be picked up in PA on the 22nd of April. Wish us luck.