Ron Paul supporters are gearing up for major showdown in Louisiana over the weekend to challenge the entire state's slate of 46 delegates selected to attend the GOP Convention in Tampa in August. The outcome of the fight may hold major implications for how Ron Paul supporters proceed in their unrelenting delegate fight against Mitt Romney.
According to Paul's campaign, the final list of delegates selected during the state's Republican convention were chosen against the rules. The list was released on Friday. Back in June, Louisana police arrested Ron Paul supporters after a chaotic scene in which they held their own protest vote in the same room as the Louisiana GOP convention (and they constituted a majority of the participants at the convention). Paul supporters believe their own convention should be recognized by the state as the legitimate representative delegates for the Republican party in Louisiana.
Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton said, "We believe that they grossly and blatantly and repeatedly violated their party rules and elected a delegation that was improper. We believe that our rump convention is the legitimate delegation and they have a right to be seated at the Republican National Convention."
The Ron Paul campaign says the state party has been difficult to communicate with, and even stand-offish. "They've been extremely non-communicative. They gave us a cold shoulder," said Benton.
But executive director of the Republican Party of Louisiana Jason Dore has responded negatively, saying, "This whole this is kind of bizarre. Unless we gave them a majority, they were going to challenge our whole convention regardless." The Republican Party was prepared to award Paul supporters with 17 delegates at the state convention, but Paul supporters refused to participate in the selection process, saying they were deserving of more and insisting on holding their own separate vote.
Now, the decision is in the hands of the RNC Credentials Committee, which will hear the challenge one week before the GOP convention in August. Whatever the Committee decides, the case holds significant implications for several other states where Paul supporters are issuing challenges to the state Republican Party due to delegate fraud. In Massachusetts and Oregon, Paul is planning similar challenges.
The larger issue here is that a candidate needs the majority of delegates in at least five states in order to enter their name into the nomination at the Convention. While Ron Paul holds the majority in three states (Iowa, Minnesota, and Maine), he needs two more in order to gain official recognition.
If supporters lead a successful challenge in at least two of Massachusetts, Oregon, or Louisiana, Ron Paul supporters will have a very different convention in August.