In a stunning move, the Republican National Committee has warned that it may refuse to allow the entire delegation for Nevada to be seated at the national convention for fear that Ron Paul supporters have taken control of the state.
Officials are petrified that Paul’s army of supporters are in position to take up more delegate slots than Mitt Romney supporters. While Romney is thought to have won 20 of the 28 slots available in Nevada, officials fear that the delegates that take them will ignore party rules by voting for Paul over Romney during the first round of balloting.
“I believe it is highly likely that any committee with jurisdiction over the matter would find improper any change to the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates, thus jeopardizing the seating of Nevada’s entire delegation to the National Convention,” said John R. Phillippe Jr., the chief counsel for the RNC, in a letter obtained by the Las Vegas Sun.
“If a prospective delegate’s name is certified to the RNC but has not been approved by an authorized representative of the candidate he or she professes to support, grounds for a contest may exist,” Phillippe wrote.
“In any case, to the extent a prospective delegate is purportedly elected in excess of the number of slots allocated to his or her preferred candidate, such delegate will be bound to vote at the national convention for the candidate to whom that delegate was allocated.”
Nevada news source rgj.com reports that despite the threats from the RNC, Carl Bunce, chairman of Paul’s campaign in Nevada, has pledged to continue the strategy of electing as many Paul supporters as possible to Nevada’s national delegation this Saturday at the state convention.
Bunce said that the strategy is within the rules, referring to the RNC letter as “a creative writing assignment given to them by the Romney campaign to threaten the Paul supporters and Ron Paul campaign.”
“It’s ridiculous. It is nothing more than a veiled threat.” Bunce added.
“You can’t come in in the seventh inning and say, ‘Oh, we are going to change the rules here. The (Romney) campaign adviser has to come in and give you a loyalty test on who you support before you can go to bat,” Bunce said. “This is tyranny, if you can come in and change the rules whenever you want. That’s not a republic. That’s tyranny.”
As we reported yesterday, Republican officials all over the country are terrified that Ron Paul’s mass appeal among grassroots groups and the exceptionally strong dedication and organisation of Paul supporters could see them hijack the national convention for their candidate.
Many Republican insiders believe that Paul’s supporters are literally seizing control of the party by stealth at the State level.
If Paul can score a plurality of delegates from five states, his supporters could nominate him from the convention floor. If delegates thought to be Romney supporters then actually turn out to be Paul supporters, the convention could be thrown into chaos as far as GOP officials see it.
This weekend, Paul supporters in Maine are aiming to get their own convention chairman elected and take a majority of delegate slots in another “takeover” attempt.
Last weekend, Paul delegates dominated Louisiana GOP caucuses. Paul supporters won about four and a half of the six Congressional District caucus conventions. A campaign news release noted that Paul is now in position to dominate the state convention in June.
In Massachusetts, Paul national campaign chairman Jesse Benton told the Daily Caller that Paul supporters occupy 16 of 19 delegate slots filled in congressional district selection processes.
“They are bound to Romney but support Ron,” Benton told the Daily Caller. “The effect of this coup isn’t immediately clear.”
Paul supporters have also registered a number of successes in the past week at state committees and conventions in Minnesota, Alaska, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Speaking on Bloomberg News earlier in the week, the congressman himself admitted that his campaign was “doing very, very well” by using the establishment’s own rules against it.
“Just look at this last week. The news is very favorable to us. We could even end up winning Iowa, ironically enough. In Minnesota, we’re doing well, and Maine, Nevada and Missouri. We’re doing very, very well. Some of the states we could very well win or come up very much because the delegate process is completely different than these straw votes,” Paul said.