Although anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) ceased actively campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in May, he and his supporters have continued to rack up delegates at statewide conventions - even in states where he was soundly defeated. Much speculation has been on Paul forcing his extreme agenda into the mainstream Republican platform, or even paving the way for a future mainstream presidential run by his equally extreme son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
However, a report from The Huffington Post has raised another potential way for Paul to use his increasing leverage - to seize control of the GOP vice presidential nomination process. Jon Ward reports that due to an obscure Republican National Committee rule, Paul’s delegates can enter his name into nomination for the vice presidential spot on the GOP ticket, forcing a roll call vote and raising the possibility that other candidates can be nominated from the field.
This may be the Ron Paul gambit we’ve been waiting for.
An obscure rule change made four years ago by the Republican Party has opened the door for Paul forces to cause a major headache for Mitt Romney when he tries to nominate his choice for vice president at the party convention in August.
The Republican National Committee could change Rule 40 in the week leading up to the convention, but that would risk the appearance of jamming Romney’s nominee through, and likely cause a subsequent backlash.
Republican officials are still waking up to the fact that Paul loyalists—who control the majority of delegates in Maine, Minnesota and Iowa, and have sizable contingents in a number of other states—could very likely enter Paul’s name into nomination for vice president. This would force a roll call vote where each delegate of each state is polled on the floor of the convention.
Such a move would transform a symbolic procedure that has taken mere minutes in the past several conventions into a chaotic and time-consuming spectacle that could eat up the better portion of a day.
Not only would such a floor fight step all over the message of party unity and strength that the Romney campaign hopes to drive through the convention, it would also open the door for alternatives to Romney’s choice to gain momentum and further drive the process off the rails.
For example, if Romney chose Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as his vice presidential pick, but the Paul forces leveraged their impressive foothold in several states to nominate Paul from the floor, then someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) could emerge as the preferred pick for many delegates as the convention goes into a roll call vote. And Rubio’s name could be entered into nomination, in addition to Paul’s, if a plurality of five states voted to nominate him.
Where things would go from there is anybody’s guess.
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