Ron Paul supporters have submitted their own list of delegates to the national party. They were chosen at the chaotic convention held in Shreveport in June where Paul delegates were in the majority.
Jesse Benton, Paul campaign chairman, has told the media: “We believe that they (LA GOP leaders) grossly and blatantly and repeatedly violated their party rules and elected a delegation that was improper.”
He believes the delegation elected when Paul supporters conducted their own selection process at the convention is the legitimate delegation.
Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, said, “We have a very conservative and enthusiastic delegation. The Louisiana delegation is composed of Republican leaders, supporters, and activists who are committed to uniting the party and defeating Barack Obama in November.”
Jason Dore, executive director of the state party, revealed that the party was prepared to award Paul supporters 17 delegate positions at the state convention, but Paul supporters refused to participate in the process, saying they deserved more and insisting on holding their own separate vote.
The battle between establishment Republicans and Ron Paul supporters has not been pretty. Republican State Rep. Joel Robideaux, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and endorsed Paul, said the state party should be uniting the party, not manipulating the selection process to punish its most active supporters.
And Charlie Davis, a former executive director of the LA GOP who ran the Paul campaign in the state said, “It’s disheartening and infuriating to watch such blatant fraud be perpetuated by an organization that I’ve worked so closely with for so many years.”
The decision over the Louisiana GOP controversy will be made by the RNC Credentials Committee one week before the national convention, which begins in Tampa on August 27.
Some Paul supporters are not optimistic. A candidate needs a majority of delegates in five states to have his or her name placed in nomination. Paul holds the majority in three states – Iowa, Minnesota, and Maine.
There are challenges in two other states – Oregon and Massachusetts – in addition to Louisiana. A successful challenge in two of these would allow Paul to be nominated and change the dynamics of the national convention. It is not likely the RNC wants that to happen.
by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax Weekly