Ron Paul

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.

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.

Staff writer Patricia Lopez on the mixed up GOP presidential race

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

lopez.jpgA House Republican fundraiser last Wednesday night netted an intriguing _ some might say baffling _ cross section of support for Republican presidential candidates, with Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., winning the straw poll as a write-in candidate with 21 percent.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a close second at 20 percent.

But, then, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, came in a startling third, beating out Rudy Giuliani.

Paul has become the darling of some Republican activists for his anti-Iraq war and anti-immigration stands.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the personal choice of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, came in a distant fifth, with 11 percent.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said that hundreds of Republican activists, legislators and campaign supporters showed up for the event at St. Paul River Centre. The results, he said, showed that “opinions of the Republican presidential candidates in Minnesota are mixed and up for grabs.”

Here’s the complete list:

    Fred Thompson (write-in), Former Tennessee Senator: 21%

    Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Governor: 20%

    Ron Paul, Texas Congressman: 16%

    Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York: 13%

    John McCain, U.S. Senator of Arizona: 11%

    Mike Huckabee, Former Arkansas Governor: 8%

    John Cox, Illinois businessman: 4%

    Duncan Hunter, California Congressman: 2%

    Tom Tancredo, Colorado Congressman: 2%

    Sam Brownback, U.S. Senator from Kansas: 2%

    Newt Gingrich (write-in), Former Speaker of the House from Georgia: 2%


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