Last week, IVN commented on a lawsuit brought by alleged delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Republican National Committee, while stating that suit was frivolous at the same time organized all the named defendants into a united defense against this litigation. There is no indication yet that the complaint in the action was served on any defendant or that the RNC has voluntarily appeared and moved to take any pretrial actions. What is clear: Ron Paul's delegate count continues to rise.
That lawsuit while wrongly brought in California will either be shipped to Massachusetts or a new one will be filed in Massachusetts because of very ill advice by the MA Republican Party, which is now seeking to strip Romney bound Paul supporters of their delegate credentials. Whether the two Massachusetts Paul supporters who were Romney bound delegates were removed is unclear.
As reported in the Boston Globe, the Romney campaign in Massachusetts attempted to have the state Republican Party enforce an affidavit requirement that was never mentioned in the Republican Party’s rules for selecting delegates and has never been required of delegates in the past to disqualify 17 Paul delegates and alternates. These individuals had failed to deliver in time an affidavit swearing, under the penalty of perjury, that they would support Mitt Romney’s nomination for President.
The Globe reported that “A spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party would not say why the affidavits were required of delegates this year, and the chairman of the Allocations Committee would not agree to an interview. Instead, the chairman offered an e-mailed statement saying that the Romney campaign, through its representative on his committee, had the right to reject delegates for “just cause”. Specifically, the Globe story noted:
“Governor Romney’s campaign, through its representative on the Allocation Committee, made the decision not to certify certain delegates and alternate delegates who were unwilling to sign and return on time the affidavit. The Allocation Committee agreed, by a unanimous vote, that these individuals’ failure to sign and return the correct affidavit on time constituted ‘just cause’ for not being certified as national delegates.”
The Boston Globe which despises Romney has been making hay over this with editorials denouncuing the Romney campaign. Given that the Globe is a national media opinion maker, this is getting picked up elsewhere.
As a result, various “process servers” stoked by the Massachusetts incident are serving the complaint on various state Republican Parties. One person announced that on Monday he drove to the Republican Party of Maryland in Annapolis to serve the papers, record the name of the person to whom he served the papers and the time he/she received them, and then contact Lawyers for Ron Paul.
In fact, Richard Gilbert, speaking for Lawyers for Ron Paul announced on Blog Talk Radio that Lawyers for Ron Paul was “taking over” the Paul campaign. This was a follow-up to a press release to the same effect by Lawyers for Ron Paul. They also announced 3 new websites: www.ronpaulgrassrootsrevolution.com, www.weareallronpaul.com, and www.realgrassrootsrevolution.com.
Mr. Gilbert in that radio interview did make 2 salient points – overlooking the “plaintiff” and venue issues. First, he correctly noted that the lawsuit did raise a cognizable federal question and did not depend on “diversity” of citizenship for federal intervention. Two, Mr. Gilbert noted that Judge Carter is a no-nonsense judge. And, three, Judge Carter would make a quick decision.
While initially IVN thought that Judge Carter would dismiss the action for lack of venue, it is now more likely given the Massachusetts purge that in lieu of dismissing the action with a refilling, Judge Carter will exercise his discretion pursuant to Section 1406 of Title 28 of the United States Code and transfer the action to the United States District Court in Massachusetts. And, Judge Carter will likely leave to the Massachusetts District Court the mechanics of cleaning up the complaint. Also, if the action is transferred, whether Mr. Gilbert can continue as lead counsel is doubtful.
The Masschusetts situatuion brings the focus back to Louisiana and Oklahoma situations. Gilbert asserted that Romney’s forces engaged in organized violence against Paul supporters. Romney is really in a no-win situation in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Romney was crushed by Santorum and under the old winner take all rules he would be shut out of delegates. As it is, he has some delegates in both states. Both the Louisiana and Oklahoma Republican Party factotums despise the Paulites. And, in both states, the state Parties which have no loyalty to Romney set about electing Santorum delegates and were determined to do it irrespective of Romney’s choices as to delegates.In Louisina, amid violence
caught on cell phone cameras and then posted to You Tube, two rival slates were elected. It so happenned that in Louisiana the Romney campaign supports seating the Paul delegation, because the Louisiana Santorum delegates are a problem for Romney. In Oklahoma, its unclear what the Romney position is but there are two rival delegations and there are Paul Convention delegates elected from Congressional Districts.
The Paul Campaign is viewed by border and Southern state Republican parties as unwrranted intruders. Until very recently the Republican Party in the South was country club dominated state party. While Republicans routinely carried these states at the Presidential level, at the state level and the courthouse level – save for Florida, Texas and Virginia, it was not until the mid-1990’s that Republicans routinely won state and local offices in the South. The party establishment in these states were and are tight cliques who have a “To the victors belong the spoils”.
Because of the focus on the lawsuit – as fueled by the Massachusetts situation - overlooked has been what has been happening at the state level in terms of delegates over the last two weeks. For starters, given the GOP allocation system of the candidate’s delegates being chosen for him/or her, the number of Ron Paul supporters continues to grow.
While Paul was shut out in Idaho, Montana and Utah last week, he scored a big win at the Oregon State Convention and MAY have scored a big win in Texas. Oregon is a Convention that chooses the delegates bound according to the primary state. There are 25 delegates to the National Convention that are to be bound to presidential contenders based on the primary vote statewide. A 3.5% threshold was required in order for a presidential contender to be allocated National Convention delegates.
In Oregon, Romney was entitled to 18 delegates, Santorum 3, Paul 3, and Gingrich 1. Delegates were chosen at district conventions on Saturday June 24rd. There are 4 ballots in each Congressional District: 1 for each of the 3 Congressional District delegates (total 5 districts × 3 delegates = 15 delegates) and 1 for the statewide 'at-large' delegates (total 10 delegates). The delegate candidate(s) receiving the most votes will attend the National Convention.
Each person selected as an Oregon delegate has to sign a pledge that he/she shall vote at the National Convention for the candidate for the President of the United States he/she favors until the candidate is: (1) nominated; (2) receives less than 35% of the votes for nomination at the convention; (3) releases the delegate from the pledge; or (4) until two convention nominating ballots have been taken. Should a delegate refuse to cast his/her vote in accordance with this pledge the Chairman of the Oregon delegation shall report to the convention floor that delegate's vote in accordance with such laws and rules until such time as that delegate is released from his/her pledge. The Oregon rules do not discuss nominations. It appears that Paul won at least 10 delegates in Oregon. There were allegations of Louisiana-Maine-Oklahoma shenanigans.
In terms of actual delegates, Paul supporters can be placed into 3 baskets: (i) Those states which the Paul people control or are essentially tied with Romney; (ii) Paul supporters who can vote for Paul; and (iii) Paul supporters bound to other candidates.In terms of the first category, are: Colorado 18 delegates, Iowa 23 delegates, Louisiana 27 delegates , Maine 21 delegates, Minnesota 32 delegates.
In the second category are: Alaska 6 delegates, Hawaii 3 delegates, Missouri 4 delegates, New Hampshire 3 delegates, North Carolina 6 delegates, North Dakota 2 delegates, Oregon 3 delegates, Pennsylvania at least 5 delegates, Rhode Island 4 delegates, Vermont 2 delegates , Virgin Islands 1 delegate, Texas 18 delegates, Virginia 3 delegates, Washington 5 delegates.There are additional Paul supporters bound for other candidates: Arizona 3, Arkansas 6 to 10, and Georgia 8 to 10 , Massachusetts 16 , Michigan 8, Nevada 22; New Mexico 8; Oklahoma 10, Virginia 20, Wyoming 1. And, the Paul supporters clearly control the Alaska delegation.
Finally, it is unclear how many “stealth” delegates there are in the Texas delegation or in other states. This is very important in understanding the real Ron Paul delegate count. For starters, in state conventions the Paulites have shown themselves to be very adept at parliamentary procedure throwing state conventions into knots.
What everyone agrees is that while these delegates are bound to vote for other candidates until released, they are not bound on any other issue including the Vice Presidential nomination. In addition, under RNC rules, to be nominated for the Presidency a candidates needs a plurality of delegates to be nominated.
While Paul has a clear plurality to be nominated in 3 states, Iowa, Maine and Minnesota – given that Louisiana is a contested situation, the issue then arises whether bound delegates are free to nominate him but then vote against him. If that scenario exists the 3 states to do that prior to recent actions were Massachusetts , Nevada, Virginia, and possibly Alaska. In fact, an argument has been made that the Paul people could nominate Paul for Vice President.
This number of delegates is causing both the Paul Campaign and the Romney Campaign problems. Almost all delegates to National Conventions are typically party officials, elected officials, or donors. Attending a Convention as a delegate, while exciting, is not cheap. Depending on where one is coming from the expenses can run from $2,000 to $6,000.
For elected officials and party officials, they can rely on campaigns or party coffers to cover that. Donors can afford these expenses as well. That is why donors are sought as delegates. They can pay their own way, want to come back again, and therefore will not go rouge. Putting aside the Paulites agitation over these Romney moves, the Paulite takeover has upset many in the donor class because it shows: (i) Romney ineptness; and (ii) denies them a chance to go to Tampa.
A number of the Paul delegates are first timers. The trip to Tampa is a financial issue – add in Romney/RNC tactics that they regard as unfair and it is a toxic situation. Minnesota Public Radio carried a story about Ron Paul delegates trying to cut expenses at the Republican National Convention. As is the case in other states, most Minnesota Republicans who are headed to this year's national convention in Tampa are first-time delegates, and they're finding out that the trip will cost them thousands of dollars and are trying to save money.
The financial pressure is one issue. The second is – if one reads the various Paul forums controlled by activists - many Paul delegates are very upset with the Campaign lead staff located in Texas who received large amounts of money from the Paul Campaign – particularly Jesse Benton, the campaign manager, for “selling out” to Romney. Also, Doug Wead, the campaign advisor, has taken his share of attacks. Both are now seen as enablers of “Romney-Establishment violence”. And, to say that Rand Paul is toxic with these delegates is an understatement.
The net effect of this – lawsuits aside – is that the Romney forces have got to figure out a Paul strategy because the Paul campaign has a problem with its own delegates – particularly because Gilbert announced on radio that Lawyers for Ron Paul were taking over the Paul Campaign.
The Paul forces that in fact control the Alaska Republican Party, the Nevada Republican Party, and the Virginia Republican Party are liklely to retaliate by daring the Republican National Committee to retaliate. The most immediate dare is likely that these states give Dr. Paul the sufficient number of delegates for Paul to be nominated in retaliation for Massachusetts.
It does not help Romney when Conservative blogger Pamela Geller asserts, “Is there a Ron Paul putsch under way?” with Geller asserting Congressman's followers “behave like Occupy fascists”. Geller and Robert Spencer co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, an organization which is labeled as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai Brith and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last time IVN looked, Geller is not a delegate.