Ron Paul says supporters will be out in force in Tampa
By Rachel Weiner,
Nearly a month after giving up on the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Rep. Ron Paul says his delegate strategy has helped him amass a formidable block of support for the Republican National Convention.
In this May 5, 2012 file photo, presidential hopeful Ron Paul talks to delegates of the state GOP convention at John Ascauaga's Nugget in Reno.
In an e-mail to supporters Wednesday night, Paul said his campaign will send “nearly 200 bound delegates” to the Tampa convention, along with hundreds of Paul supporters bound to vote for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. “We will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor,” Paul wrote. “That is just over 20 percent.
The libertarian-leaning candidate only has 136 delegates, according to an AP count. (There are 2,286 delegates altogether.) But at state conventions across the country, Paul supporters have been increasing his delegate totals or nominating Paul sympathizers as Romney delegates.
“Stand up for what we believe in. Be respectful. And let the establishment know that we are the future of the Party and of the country,” he wrote.
But a large Paul contingent will likely lead to some friction in Florida. Supporters of the candidate are already clashing with convention officials over plans for a three-day “PaulFest” at the Florida State Fairgrounds in the days before the convention.
Louisiana’s state convention last weekend, dominated by Paul supporters, devolved into chaos; one Paul backer was arrested after attempting to oust the party chairman. The two groups are currently trying to negotiate a delegate slate.