Republican National Convention organizers fear storm and Ron Paul supporters (with Maine update)

Projected path of Tropical Storm Isaac (National Hurricane Center, August 23, 2012)

The New York Times reports that the powers-that-be at the Republican National Convention are so spooked by the possibility that Ron Paul supporters may not fall in line for Mitt Romney that they may move up the roll call in which state delegations cast their votes.

The schedule change is also a reaction to a possible threat from Tropical Storm Isaac, which may turn into a hurricane and may hit Tampa.

While Mr. Paul’s advisers have worked behind-the-scenes with the Romney campaign for months, several supporters have signaled their interest in making their admiration known for Mr. Paul on the convention floor. The Romney campaign has worked through most of the concerns, but leaned toward officially calling the roll of delegates on Monday, when television networks were not planning to broadcast the convention to diminish the potential for any fireworks.

Regarding Maine, the article notes:

The Republican National Committee voted Thursday to invalidate Mr. Paul’s delegates from Maine, a decision that was reached after negotiations with party officials, the Romney campaign and Mr. Paul’s aides. The Iowa Republican Party has offered to give guest passes to the convention floor for Mr. Paul’s supporters in Maine who lost their designation as delegates.

How will Ron Paul’s supporters react to this effort to keep them quiet at the Republican National Convention? Unlike Romney supporters, Paul’s are driven by their attraction to their candidate.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton delivered a rousing endorsement for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention and her supporters backed Obama at the ballot box. Unlike Rep. Paul, she spoke to the convention, something desired by Paul’s supporters, but she had also performed much better in party primary contests.

Most likely Ron Paul supporters will pull together with their fellow Republicans, but perhaps some will stay home or vote for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.  Whether they’ll be motivated to stay involved in party politics also remains to be seen.

Maine update: Reporting from the RNC Rules Committee, Politico’s James Hohmann notes that prominent Romney surrogate John Sununu has played a role in stripping credentials from a Maine delegate:

Haggling in convention rules committee about seating Ron Paul Maine delegate. Sununu sides with Team Romney & takes away his vote.

Other Twitter-based coverage of RNC committee work is offered by Zeke Miller, who notes controversy over changing the rules about how the convention operates and that the Romney campaign has offered to show a film at the convention about Ron Paul.

Final update: The Maine Ron Paul delegates were rejected by the RNC and Gov. LePage announced he thus will not attend the convention.  My kudos to the governor.

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.