Election 2012

GOP makes room for Ron Paul at Tampa convention!

on . Posted in Election 2012

TAMPA, Florida (PNN) - July 22, 2012 - Ron Paul supporters have feuded with state Republican parties across the country, battling for delegate seats at the national convention, but the national party is welcoming Paul and his supporters to the upcoming Republican National Convention with open arms, even helping the Texas congressman organize his troops.

The Paul campaign and the Republican National Committee have been working closely over the past few months to work out logistics in order to include the Texas congressman and his supporters in the August convention in Tampa.

"They've just treated us like a friend and like a coalition," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign. "They have been honest brokers in working with us and treated us with respect."

Ron Paul - known widely as The Patriot Congressman due to his rigid stand for constitutional limited government, personal freedom and the Rule of Law - will hold a rally with supporters on August 26 at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome - a venue RNC convention planners helped him get.

Planners have also kept Paul's platform committee delegates in the loop as they begin the process of assembling that document.

Despite this cooperation, Paul, unlike all of the other former GOP presidential contenders, has not endorsed Mitt Romney for the nomination for president.

In an interview with the Fox Business network last week, Paul - who is no longer actively campaigning for president but has not officially suspended his bid - said he had "not made a decision" whether he'll vote for Romney in November.

Benton said Paul's movement has matured enough to remain relevant well past the primary contests. For instance, the congressman said in June that he expects to have about 500 delegates and alternates in the convention hall out of the total of about 4,400. "Our success brings us some clout," said Benton.

During the 2008 Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, The Patriot Congressman was largely ignored by planners and ended up holding a counterrally with supporters. This year, deference to the Paul campaign began early.

In April, when the RNC wanted to start a joint fundraising operation with the Romney campaign following former senator Rick Santorum's exit from the race, they made sure to touch base with Paul's staff. Benton said at the time that the congressman gave his "blessing to begin assembling the victory organization Republicans will require to guarantee a win in the fall."

Paul and Romney were generally friendly throughout the primary season. During the slew of Republican debates, the two saved their most withering attacks for other Republican contenders on stage, sparking rumors that they were somehow in cahoots.

In February, Santorum accused the two campaigns of working together to undermine his presidential bid, a charge both camps denied at the time.

Relations between the candidates' supporters were more acrimonious, particularly in several states where Paul backers packed local conventions to try to win delegate slots.

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