Ron Paul delegates reject compromise offered by Maine Republican Party

Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2012 in Politics

Ron Paul delegates reject compromise offered by Maine Republican Party

Supporters of Ron Paul, who took over the Maine Republican convention earlier this spring and have a majority of the delegates elected to the national convention later this month, rejected a compromise from Charlie Webster, head of Maine's Republican party.  This action, according to Webster, could lead to Maine's delegation being denied seating at the national convention.

Later this week, a committee of Republican leaders from around the country will meet in D.C. to consider what to do about Maine's delegates.  The committee is reviewing a challenge filed by two Republican activists in Maine who say that the 20 pro-Paul delegates were improperly elected. 

Webster said that he offered a compromise to the Paul delegates to try to stave off the issue when it reaches the Republican National Committee, but the delegates unanimously rejected the proposal.  Webster he said he spent hours on the phone with RNC officials and others trying to negotiate what he called a "reasonable compromise." Webster said he never ran the proposal by the Romney campaign, contrary to the suggestion of some Paul delegates.

Paul's supporters suggested that the compromise would have stripped them of their voices as delegates by requiring them to "sign a binding pledge" to support Romney if Paul is not listed as an official candidate at the convention.

Maine's delegates are unbound, and can technically vote for anyone they choose.  However, the delegates traditionally are elected by members of the party, who vote in caucuses, for a particular candidate.  Because of a series of missteps during the caucus season, including not including an entire county of voters who were snowed in on the last possible caucus day and entire cities and towns whose votes were not included in the tallies, the Romney 'win' in Maine was an educated guess at best.

“It is unreasonable for the Republican Party at either the national or state level, or for any campaign for president, to attempt to pressure the Maine delegation to vote any particular way," Brent Tweed, a pro-Paul delegate and the chairman of the Maine GOP convention, said in a statement. "We will not be intimidated into signing political deals under threat of being unseated. We are accountable to the Maine Republicans who elected us, not the Mitt Romney campaign.”

The RNC’s “Committee on Contests” will meet this week in Washington to begin reviewing the challenges filed in Maine and other states. Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the RNC, said the committee will review paperwork filed on the challenges this week and will re-convene the week before the convention to hold final hearings and make a decision.

Any appeal would go to the RNC credentials committee, which meets only three days before the beginning of the convention on August 27.

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