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election 2012:

Paul backers from Nevada resort to backup plan at convention

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Associated Press

Mary White of Rathdrum, Idaho, shows her support for Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, at a rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.

Republican Convention 2012 Protest

Demonstrators chant and walk during a protest march, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in St Petersburg, Fla. Hundreds of protestors gathered a park in downtown St. Petersburg to march in demonstration against the Republican National Convention. Launch slideshow »

TAMPA, Fla. — Recent rules decisions have made it all but impossible for Ron Paul supporters to put their candidate’s name up for a vote at the full Republican convention. So they’re opting for one last backup plan: Rescinding them altogether.

Nevada delegates were circulating a petition Sunday calling for the right to read the rules committee minority report on the floor of the convention. That report objects to changes made last week to the procedure for appointing delegates in future elections.

If they are able to secure enough support to read the report on the floor, they can call for a vote to rescind those rules changes.

Paul delegates then might be able to propose amendments aimed at reversing other decisions that didn’t go Paul’s way — especially the decision to replace half of Maine’s Paul-supporting delegations with hand-picked Mitt Romney champions. Nevada delegates had been counting on a strong Paul delegation from Maine.

As the rules now stand, delegates in future Republican presidential selection contests will be bound to the winning candidate in every state, either proportionally or winner-take-all. That change, made to Rule 15, would make it impossible for candidates with a minority of the delegates by popular vote to overwhelm state party conventions the way Paul’s supporters did in Nevada.

“It’s a two-pronged attack on the delegate representative process, because first it binds the delegates to the candidate in that way, and then after the delegates are picked the campaign can veto any of the delegates,” said Kurt Criss, a Nevada delegate and Paul supporter who served on the RNC Rules Committee and prepared the minority report. “We’d like to put it up for a vote to be rescinded.”

But the bar for doing so is pretty high.

To bring the minority report to the floor, they would need the majority of 15 delegations, Nevada delegation chairman Wayne Terhune said. The majority of convention-goers then would have to approve it.

Nevada delegates have been trying to sell the petition as less of a last-ditch, long-shot effort to reclaim delegates and more of a matter of fairly presenting both sides.

“It’s like a dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court. They want to have it brought up and discussed before the rules are adopted,” Terhune said.

But the Maine delegate decision, and how it ended the Paul supporters’ revolutionary hopes for the convention, are never fully out of mind.

“There are a number of parliamentary tactics that can be used in order to address this rules issue,” said Robert Tyree, adding that he was supporting the reading of the minority report because on that matter, the case really isn’t yet closed.

“The proposed rules have yet to be passed before the entire convention body,” Tyree said. “That has to happen before these rules take effect.”

Paul supporters have until Tuesday to collect signatures for their petition.

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