Updated x4: Paul v Romney, day 2 of the Maine GOP Convention and beyond

UPDATE 4: Ron Paul has won every delegate that is not awarded based on elected office. It is also being reported that Paul supporters control the Republican state committee.

UPDATE 3: Ron Paul has also won 3 delegates representing the First congressional district. With Ben Ginsberg, Romney’s top lawyer present, it’s being reported that the Romney campaign will challenge the Paul delegates right to take these seats at the national convention.  By the way, Ginsberg was the leader of George W. Bush’s 2000 Florida recount team.

UPDATE 2: Based on voting on day one, Ron Paul appears to have won the 15 at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention. (Update 1 at the bottom of this post.)

With much to occupy Maine Republicans — a platform to adopt, speeches to be heard from candidates for the U.S. Senate, and networking and organizing to try to benefit all of the fall campaigns, from the statehouse to the U.S. Congress and the White House — day two of the convention will kick off in the shadow of day one.

For what happened on day one, see below, and read reports by Eric Russell and Steve Mistler.

There are questions to ask about day one, day two, and beyond. If you have any thoughts on any of these, please share in comments.

1. Ron Paul forces have been organizing all over the country and picking up delegates. What did they accomplish in Maine? How might it matter for what happens at the Republican National Convention? Are there potential spillover effects on the presidential race?

2. Will Ron Paul supporters be back in the same proportions as they were on day one? Or, with a nice day outside, will they decide they don’t need to come back to participate in party doings?

This will show if they want an on-going role in the operations of the party and if they want to influence the platform. While state party platforms are not usually controversial, this was not so two years ago, when tea party forces had theirs adopted. A similar platform sends a signal to the broader electorate about the Maine Republican party.

3. Day two will include speeches by the candidates for the U.S. Senate seat held by Olympia Snowe. How will they be received by these activists? Is there a favorite among non-Establishment parts of the party and among the Establishment Republicans? And how will Senator Snowe be treated?

4. How do presidential and senatorial preferences track with the factions of the Maine Republican party — and will there be lasting schisms affecting the fall election? Ron Paul’s support comes from disparite groups, libertarians and social conservatives like anti-gay activist Michael Heath. Yet, while social conservatives have candidates in Scott D’Amboise, Deb Plowman and, to a lesser extent, Bruce Poliquin, libertarian Paul supporters may not support them. D’Amboise and Plowman are the candidates most associated with the tea party.

After 2010, when the tea party was strong nationally and affected Maine politics, and after this year’s GOP convention with activated, anti-Establishment forces, will an Establishment Republican end up winning the Senate nomination? Establishment candidates include Rick Bennett (the choice of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and the most corporate), Bill Schneider (with the best foreign policy credentials of all and a life of public service and heroism), Charles Summers (Maine’s Secretary of State), or, again to a lesser extent, Bruce Poliquin (the state Treasurer).

5. And how do these splits track with Republican divisions regarding Governor Paul LePage’s policies and his tone, which could affect positioning in the legislative special session and as part of legislative campaigns?

Ultimately, how these questions are answered matter for the composition and political position of the Republican party nationally and in Maine.

Day one: Before day one, Webster had fretted that Ron Paul supporters might “take over” the convention and called them “wingnuts.”

On the first day of the convention, supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul arrived in force, ready to rumble. After the Maine caucus mess, at least some Paul supporters thought they had been robbed by the state’s Republican Establishment, including party Chair Charlie Webster. What happened at the caucuses had consequences.

Paul supporters won votes for the convention secretary and chair but the schedule slowed, with balloting for the delegates to the national convention occurring late and in, according to Twitter reports (at #mepolitics), a confused, even chaotic matter. Totals were not released that evening, so it was unclear if Paul forces had taken the majority of delegates.

Updates: As of 9 AM, Twitter has unverified rumors that Ron Paul has won the delegate selection from the convention.  See also this report from Dirigo Blue about an attempt by Romney forces to give Paul supporters a replacement slate of delegates in the format that was used by Paul organizers, but had not been by the Romney people. (It looks like something similar happened in Nevada.) Dirigo Blue posted this video regarding the shenanigans.

I am not at the convention, but should update from time to time.


Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.