Supporters of libertarian GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, failed at the Nebraska GOP convention to secure his presence as a presidential candidate for nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, in August.
The Associated Press reports that Paul's supporters won only two of Nebraska's 35 national delegates.
According to USA Today, under Rule 40, Section B in the Republican National Committee's rule book, a presidential candidate must demonstrate the support of a "plurality of the delegates from five or more states" to get his or her name entered for nomination at the convention.
Paul already has a plurality of delegates from Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Louisiana. Nebraska was the last state to hold its convention for delegates. A win at Nebraska, along with delegates from Iowa, Louisiana, Maine and Minnesota would have required organizers to grant Paul 15 minutes for a nomination speech at the party National Convention in Tampa.
But now, Paul may be officially shut out of the Tampa convention as organizers are not required to include him in the Tampa convention proceedings having failed to secure the minimum requirements for official presence. Paul was also shut out of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in 2008, as Republicans rallied around John McCain who was then nominated as Republican presidential candidate for the party.
But according to The Associated Press, Paul's campaign may still have a noticeable presence in Tampa.
The Guardian reports that Paul's campaign is planning a rally in Tampa at the time of the convention and hopes to bring as many as 500 delegates to Tampa even though many of them will be officially committed to vote for Romney. The event called Liberty Unplugged, is planned to hold on 24 and 25 August, The Guardian reports. His supporters are also organizing a Ron Paul Festival 2012, as an independent event that will include live music, The Associated Press reports
Paul's supporters have been attempting to wrest control at state conventions and they have posed a formidable threat to mainstream Republicans.The aim of the Paul faction is to boost their profile and expand the influence of their libertarian ideology which opposes big government, foreign intervention and Federal Reserve policies. The ideological leaning of the Ron Paul faction is so radically different from the mainstream, especially in matters of foreign policy, that they are seen as gadflies by the Republican establishment.
His campaign has relied on a "delegate strategy" in which his supporters use their knowledge of the intricate technicalities of party rules and procedures to get picked as delegates to Tampa. Their strategy was so successful that they won control of the state delegation in Iowa, even though they did not win the state's caucus vote.
Had Paul's campaign be able to win a majority of Nebraska delegates, it would have given the libertarian-leaning Texan congressman control of five state delegations and thus a chance to be nominated for president at the Tampa convention, including a 15-minute speaking slot. Paul's supporters had been hoping they might be able use party rules to force a floor vote against Mitt Romney at Tampa.
The Associated Press reports that Laura Ebke, chairwoman of the Republican Liberty Caucus in Nebraska, had said before the Nebraska convention, "I don't know if we have enough delegates to have a majority. We have got a fair number and there are probably a few more that are friendly to Ron Paul. Our goal is a coalition and win that way."
While none expected Paul would win the party nomination, success of his "delegate strategy" would have given his faction a strong profile boost in the party. But the activities of his faction at state conventions have provoked disturbances and scuffles with Romney's supporters. The Republican establishment, anxious to present a picture of unity within the party, have sometimes come down hard on Paul supporters. The Guardian reports that a fight broke in Louisiana after Paul won a majority of delegates for the state. Similarly in Massachusetts, when some Paul delegates were asked to sign legal affidavits that they would vote for Romney in Tampa, they refused and were barred from the delegation by state party officials.