Why Ron Paul's big wins in Maine and Nevada matter (+video)
When Ron Paul delegates show up at the Republican National Convention in August, they may be strong enough to throw the event into disarray – just at the moment Mitt Romney needs to show the GOP united behind him.
Ron Paul scored big victories at the Maine and Nevada Republican Party conventions on Sunday. In both states his forces won the majority of delegates to this summer's national GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.Skip to next paragraph
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As we noted Sunday, this means Mr. Paul’s strategy of organizing the grass roots and working arcane delegate selection rules is paying off. And that could mean big trouble for Mitt Romney and his plans to smoothly pivot to a campaign aimed solely at incumbent President Obama.
Yes, Mr. Romney is still the presumptive nominee. It’s highly unlikely Paul will be able to deny the former Massachusetts governor the prize he’s sought for so long. But Paul’s forces aren’t lining up and saluting a Romney victory. When they show up in Tampa in August they may be strong enough, and prepared enough, to throw the convention floor into embarrassing disarray.
“All of this means the GOP can no longer ignore its libertarian ‘fringe.’ On the contrary, it will have to reach out to a new generation of activists who don’t regard religious piety or continual warfare as sacred tenets of conservatism,” wrote Oxford University historian Timothy Stanley in a CNN opinion column last week.
Let’s back up a bit and recap, shall we? On Sunday in Augusta, Maine, Paul supporter Brent Tweed narrowly won the election to chair the state’s GOP convention. From there, he presided over a meeting that ended up with Paul winning 18 of the state’s 24 delegates to Tampa.
Romney narrowly won Maine’s caucus straw poll earlier this year. But that was a nonbinding beauty contest. Sunday’s vote was what really counted.