Monday, June 09, 2008

Ron Paul Backers Plan Own Convention

Supporters of Ron Paul’s bid for the Republican Presidential nomination are planning to hold an insurgent state convention July 28 in Reno, Nev., even though the party has scheduled a sanctioned gathering July 26 to finish electing the state’s national delegates. Paul’s backers say Nevada Republican leaders abruptly shut down the state's first convention attempt last April before final votes were cast. Earlier in the day, Paul's supporters had won a rules change that appeared to be leading to a national slate of delegates mostly pledged to Paul than to presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain. The state party's executive director, Zachary Moyle, disputes the party tried to cut anybody out of the process, saying everything was done in an open manner. He also says extra security will be on hand this time because some delegates are concerned about safety. While no violence occurred at the April convention, state Sen. Bob Beers, the presiding chairman, was rushed out of the building by security after angry delegates surrounded the stage moments after he called it to a close. It has taken the party more than a month to reschedule the new convention, which leads Paul’s supporters to believe party leaders are obstructing democracy.They argue the party's date to reconvene is so late there would be no time to regroup if problems similar to those that forced the end of the first one recur. National delegates must be elected by Aug. 1. "A date so late in July is simply not reasonable," says one Paul supporter participating in the revolt. "We don't want to run out of time and possibly be forced into a mail-in ballot or an appointed delegation." GOP officials say the event Paul’s forces want to stage is not sanctioned by the party, and delegates elected there would not be recognized by the national committee. Paul’s backers contend he needs a simple majority of delegates for a quorum to reconvene and elect delegates. Paul – described as a conservative, a Constitutionalist and a Libertarian – racked up more than a million votes during the primaries in spite of his candidacy remaining largely under the radar.The 10-term Texas Republican began his presidential bid a year ago and has raised nearly $35 million in donations from hundreds of thousands of supporters, mostly via the Internet. He reportedly has more than $5 million remaining in his political coffers and continues to travel the country signing copies of his new book and speaking to crowds of followers, many of them new to the political process. Paul is trying to earn a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., this September. His platform advocates a foreign policy of nonintervention, citing the dangers of foreign entanglements to national sovereignty. He and his loyal followers are against the war in Iraq and favor withdrawal from both NATO and the U.N. Paul has consistently pledged to never raise taxes and end the federal income tax. While he has refused a third-party bid, he has vowed not to endorse McCain. "Paul's grassroots supporters across the country are doing a tremendous job spreading [his] message, winning votes, and laying a strong foundation for the future," campaign spokesman Jesse Benton says.