GOP suggests Maine delegation split Paul delegates
AUGUSTA, Maine—The Republican National Committee on Wednesday found problems with the way Maine's Ron Paul delegates to the party's national convention were chosen and recommended that the Texas congressman's supporters give up 10 of their 21 seats, Maine's GOP chairman said.
But Ron Paul supporters said they won't go along with any such deal.
The RNC's Committee on Contests determined that procedural rules were broken when the Ron Paul contingent took over the Maine GOP Convention in May and elected a slate of Paul supporters, said Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party and an undeclared delegate to next week's convention in Tampa, Fla.
Mainstream Republicans filed a challenge to the Ron Paul slate, citing repeated violations of party and parliamentary rules.
Ron Paul supporters said Wednesday they had broken no rules and have not agreed to any deal to give up delegates.
"Basically our line is no deals, no compromises," said Paul-supporting delegate Matt McDonald of Belfast. He called the committee's finding "a recommendation but it's not an official recommendation."
Because Mitt Romney has already gained the number of delegates he needs to win the nomination, the delegates are really not about who wins the party's nod for president. But Paul supporters say they want to show enough strength to get their candidate a prime-time speaking slot during the Monday-Thursday convention in Tampa.
Maine is the last of several states with seating issues stemming from election of Ron Paul delegates.
According to Webster, the Contests committee decided that a number of rules had been broken at the state convention and told Paul delegates and their mainstream challengers they can each pick 10 delegates to the convention. If they don't, the RNC will make the choices for them, said Webster, who was at the convention site Wednesday.
Maine has a total of 24 delegates to the national convention. Of the remaining four, three will go to presumed presidential nominee Romney. Webster, the final delegate, remains uncommitted to any candidate.
Webster had tried to broker an agreement between the two groups but did not succeed. On Wednesday he continued to take a middle ground by not pointing fingers.
"We have to take part of the blame for this," Webster said, referring to party regulars. "It's not Ron Paul's fault and it's not the party's fault."
Webster said he hoped the Paul supporters will accept the committee's finding and choose their 10 delegates. "At this point their options are very limited," he added.
McDonald said the matter is now likely to go to the Credentials Committee.