Paul’s supporters make inroads at GOP conventions
FORT WORTH — Ron Paul supporters fought with local Republican leaders Saturday over control of local conventions and may have won the right to push their agenda at the state GOP convention.
Supporters of Paul, a congressman from Surfside who got 4.5 percent of the votes in the presidential primary, tried to overwhelm the senate district-level conventions by sheer numbers. The party regulars, aware that Paul’s supporters won a similar campaign in Missouri, brought in extra troops of their own.
The two largest conventions in Tarrant County were still nominating their delegates at 9 p.m., and it may be days before the full effect is known.
“This is not unique to Dallas/Fort Worth; it’s happening all over the state,” said Stephanie Klick, Tarrant County Republican chairwoman.
Paul’s supporters oppose GOP presidential nominee John McCain and want to push the party toward Paul’s brand of conservatism, including reining in federal spending, ending the Iraq war and abolishing the Federal Reserve and other government agencies. Any delegates to the state convention will be required to support McCain, but they could still vote for changes in the state party platform.
Peace broke out early at the Senate District 12 convention.
Convention Chairman Tom Quinones worked out a deal to give the Paul camp delegates based on their numbers.
Chad Bishop, a Paul delegate, gave a speech seconding Quinones’ nomination, saying the district’s “conservative heritage is not lost on us.”
Quinones said later, “I think the Ron Paul delegates will be well-represented on our state delegation list.”
In Senate District 10, Paul supporter Jeremy Blosser challenged longtime Republican organizer Stuart Lane for chairmanship of the convention.
Blosser bristled at Lane’s characterization of Paul’s supporters as “outsiders bent on taking over the party.”
Blosser said: “We are Republicans. I don’t know how you take over something you’re already part of.”
Lane won the election by 2-to-1, but it took hours to count the votes, and the convention still bogged down with debate over the platform.
“Did we accomplish something today? We’re here, and we stood up for ourselves,” Blosser said.
R. W. “Dick” Gaines
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