GOP delegates send McCain backers to the convention in St. Paul

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The leadership of the Minnesota Republican Party decisively beat back an insurgent challenge this afternoon by supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul, dashing their hopes of sending Paul delegates to the national convention in St. Paul three months from now.

With 14 delegates up for grabs, Republicans backing de-facto nominee John McCain took all of them, after several hours of sometimes-bitter arguments and confrontations on the floor of the GOP’s state convention.

Boos, shouted protests and parliamentary maneuvers consumed several hours of the convention’s first day, delaying the formal endorsement of Sen. Norm Coleman. At one point, a shoving match broke out between a McCain supporter and a Paul backer.

Marianne Stebbins, a longtime party activist who headed Paul’s campaign in Minnesota, failed to be named a national convention delegate. Taking the podium before voting began, she implored her fellow Republicans: “We do think the party is losing its way … it’s strayed from its core principles. We’re hoping to recreate the 1964 Goldwater movement – he lost, but won the Republican Party back.”

Some Paul backers complained party officials unfairly stacked its slate of preferred candidates, a vetting process defended by party chairman Ron Carey. Serving as a national convention delegate “is not an entry-level job,” he said. “We looked at people who truly had quality, not just people who raised their hand at the last minute.”

Despite the raw emotions on display today, it wasn’t immediately clear how long the obvious fissures in the party will persist.

Not surprisingly, among the GOP heavyweights elected as national delegates were Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.

A post-mortem on Ron Paul’s apparent setback at GOP convention

Friday, May 30th, 2008

With Minnesota’s Republicans on the verge of choosing their delegates to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, party chairman Ron Carey this afternoon defended the party’s treatment of presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters.

Party officials banned Paul from addressing their state convention today, a move Carey called “consistent with our party’s rules. “We have our presumptive nominee” in John McCain, he added.

Paul’s backers, who Carey estimated represent no more than a quarter of the delegates at the convention, were easily turned back in their attempt to change the convention rules, which would have made it easier to win some of the 14 national delegates that will be chosen later today.

Paul supporters in other states have been able to win delegate spots in an attempt to win Paul a speaking role at the national convention. “In other states, they fought tooth and nail,” Carey said. “Here, it was over and done with in five minutes.”

Even so, the convention was slowed to a crawl this morning with endless bouts of parliamentary wrangling. “They’ve had endless points of order that were not true points of order,” Carey said. “It was an intentional slowing of the process.”

He was somewhat conciliatory toward Paul’s supporters. “We want the Ron Paul people to be part of the party – they are part of the party. But the game’s been played and it was won by McCain.”

Wrangling over the Republican rules in Rochester

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul lost an initial parliamentary round at the state party convention late this morning, potentially making it less likely they will be able to elect delegates to the national convention in St. Paul.

The Paulites were unable to muster enough votes to change the convention rules that would have allowed delegates to be chosen with a plurality of votes, instead of an outright majority.

Although a few hundred Paul supporters rallied with their candidate this morning before the convention began, once it got underway, it was obvious they’re outnumbered by party regulars who support the candidacy of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

State convention delegates are scheduled to pick 14 national convention delegates later today. Two slates are being circulated in the convention hall, one supporting McCain and the other calling itself the “Conservative Conscience Coalition,” which includes several Paul supporters.

The convention has ground to a crawl, with delegates wrangling over several arcane procedural items, with some delegates bridling over party officials’ attempts to move the process along.

Quentin Reece, a delegate from Sherburne County, complained from the floor that party officials were ordering delegates on how to vote on items. “This is not a dictatorship,” he said. “People are telling people how to vote. This is not Zimbabwe.”

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign comes to Rochester

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The curtain was raised on the state Republican Party convention this morning on the lawn outside the Mayo Civic Center before the convention was even gaveled to order inside.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul told a few hundred of his supporters that his longshot candidacy will ultimately fall short to John Mc Cain’s, but he still hopes they will be able to play a part at the party’s national convention in St. Paul.

“If the votes aren’t there, we still have a role to play,” said Paul, a 10-term congressman from Texas. “We want to change this country. We want to change this party. Some we win, some we lose, but we may just have a grand presence in Minneapolis on Sept. 2nd.”

Even as Paul has lagged far back in the race against McCain, his backers have been accumulating national convention delegates in several states with a goal of securing him a speaking spot at the national convention. In Minnesota, they’ve already secured at least six delegates and hoped this morning to snag some of the 14 that will be awarded at the state convention.

Conceding “we don’t have the votes,” Paul said his campaign “for the freedom revolution will continue for a long time to come. We have the rightness on our side. We have the issues.”

Paul’s issues, a libertarian mix of anti-war, anti-tax, anti-big government stands, has attracted substantial grassroots support nationwide, which has allowed him to raise a substantial amount of campaign funds, mostly by way of the Internet.

His supporters, disenchanted with McCain’s supposed lack of conservative bonafides, are devoted to Paul’s cause, win or lose. “It ain’t gonna happen this time, but we’ve planted a seed and are going to keep at this revolution election cycle after cycle,” said Colin Wilkinson, a convention alternate from St. Paul. “I won’t be chattel – we either own the government or the government owns us.”

Paul staged the outdoor rally because Republican officials didn’t invite him to address the convention. But he worked the lobby of the convention hall, shaking hands, posing for pictures and autographing copies of his most recent best-selling book.

The delegate fight is expected to unfold later this morning.

Republican red meat in Rochester

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

ROCHESTER – Minnesota’s Republicans held a pep rally at the Mayo Civic Center Thursday night, a full-throated partisan crank-up for this weekend’s state convention.

Barack Obama (more than Hillary Clinton), Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, liberalism and the “Democrat” Party were repeatedly, if predictably, bashed. “Look at what the Democrats
offer us – Barack Obama and Al Franken are the most radical extremists this country has ever seen,” said state GOP chairman Ron Carey, decrying their “left-wing values.”

Surveying the conventional wisdom writings of what he called “the pundits” who have predicted a “slaughter” of Republicans in November, Carey predicted that “the joke’s gonna be on these folks.”

The party trotted out a couple of its congressional candidates who are facing decidedly uphill battles in deeoly blue districts come November and gave them a few minutes in the spotlight.

Ed Matthews, who is trying to take down Rep.Betty McCollum in a district that has been held by Democrats for 60 years, mentioned “change” in Washington almost as incessantly as Obama has. He said his platform is grounded on God, the U.S. Constitution and the Republican Party’s platform.

Barbara Davis-White, who is trying to knock off first-term Rep. Keith Ellison in the deeply blue Fifth Congressional District, called him “a liberal.”

“BOOOOOOOOOO,” the crowd replied.

“We cannot let our country die under the influence of Democrats and socialism,” she said, adding that Ellison is “a man who’s threatening our national security.”

Sen. Norm Coleman, whose endorsement for a second term is expected to be the centerpiece of the convention, made a brief, surprise, appearance when he introduced Sen. Tom Colburn, who gave the keynote address of the night. “Six more years,” members of the crowd roared.

“You are what defends liberty,” Colburn told the Republicans, saying the party can “regain our footing” if the party keeps its focus on Islamic radical terrorism and the federal government’s deficit spending. “There’s a culture in Washington that kicks the can down the road,” Colburn said. “It’s time that stops.”

Officially, the convention kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday.

The Elephant in the Room

Guestposter Myron Medcalf on Nancy Pelosi being named to chair Dems’ Denver convention. Who will chair GOP St. Paul conclave?

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

(Herewith we introduce a new department — ‘The Elephant in the Room’ — devoted to news and observations about the run-up to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Watch for ‘Elephant in the Room’ posts to increase as convention plans and the nomination campaign develop.)

Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said hepelosi.jpg will nominate Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi Tuesday as the permanent chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Denver.

Their Republican counterparts aren’t happy. The GOP responded – through their Republican National Convention Research Department – by citing polls from Gallup and the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg that show a declining approval rating for the Congress Pelosi took charge of in January.

Who should the Republicans select to chair their convention and why?

Myron P. Medcalf

Hillary Clinton coming to town

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton will bring her campaign for president (excuse me, make that her exploratory campaign) to Minneapolis June 1 for a $1,000 a plate fund-raising dinner at the Minneapolis Club.

hillary_clinton.jpgThe invitation to the event also provides a glimpse of the co-chairs and vice-chairs of Minnesotans for Hillary, a list that includes quite a few names notable for politics, money or both, to wit:


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