Ron Paul supporters have feuded with state Republican parties across the
country, battling for delegate seats at the national convention, but the
national party is welcoming Paul and his supporters to the event with
open arms, even helping the Texas congressman organize his troops.
The Paul campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC)
have been working closely over the past few months to work out
logistics in order to include the Texas congressman and his supporters
in the August convention in Tampa.
"They've just treated us like a friend and like a coalition," said Jesse Benton, a
spokesman for the Paul campaign. "They have been honest brokers in
working with us and treated us with respect."Paul will hold a rally with supporters Aug. 26 at the University of South
Florida's Sun Dome — a venue convention planners helped him get.
"We have worked closely with Congressman Paul to secure a location for this event," said Kyle Downey, a spokesman for the GOP convention. Planners have also kept Paul's platform committee delegates in the loop as they begin the process of assembling that document.
Despite this cooperation, Paul, unlike all of the other former GOP presidential contenders, has not endorsed Mitt Romney for the nomination.
In an interview with the Fox Business network last week, Paul — who is no
longer actively campaigning for president but has not officially
suspended his bid — said he had "not made a decision" whether he'll vote
for Romney in November. Benton said Paul's
movement has matured enough to remain relevant well past the primary
For instance, the congressman said in June that he expects to
have about 500 delegates and alternates in the convention hall out of
the total of about 4,400. "Our success brings us some clout," Benton
said.During the 2008 Republican convention in
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Paul was largely ignored by planners and ended up
holding a counterrally with supporters. This year, deference to the
Paul campaign began early.
In April, when the RNC wanted to start a joint fundraising operation with the Romney campaign following former senator Rick Santorum's exit from the race, they made sure to touch base with Paul's staff.
Benton said at the time that the congressman gave his "blessing to begin
assembling the Victory organization Republicans will require to
guarantee a win in the fall." Paul and Romney
were generally friendly throughout the primary election. During the
slew of Republican debates, the two saved their most withering attacks
for other Republican contenders on stage, sparking rumors that they were
somehow in cahoots.In February, Santorum
accused the two campaigns of working together to undermine his
presidential bid, a charge both camps denied at the time.Relations
between the candidates' supporters were more acrimonious, particularly
in several states where Paul backers packed local conventions to try to
win delegate slots.
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Location: Tampa, Florida, United States (load item map)
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