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April 24, 2019

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election 2012:

Nevada’s Ron Paul supporters won’t give up the fight

Ron Paul in Vegas

Leila Navidi

Joe Sword of Las Vegas rallies with others while waiting for Rep. Ron Paul to arrive at a campaign stop at American Shooters, an indoor gun range and retail store in Las Vegas Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

Click to enlarge photo

Rep. Ron Paul speaks at a rally for Philippine-American veterans at the Leatherneck Club in Las Vegas Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

On the national stage, deals are being struck between Republican presidential nominee-to-be Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul to ensure a harmonious national convention next week in Tampa, Fla.

But the Nevada delegation dominated by a contingent of Paul supporters fully intends to carry out its strategy to place Paul’s name up for nomination from the convention floor, delegation chairman Wayne Terhune said Wednesday.

“In our case, you need a majority of the delegation to nominate a candidate,” Terhune said. “We have already done that for Ron Paul from the Nevada delegation. We have signatures from over half of the delegation, and we will be nominating Ron Paul.”

Even Paul’s most ardent supporters, who have proven adept at using the Republican Party's own rules to keep his candidacy alive, admit the chance is beyond slim that they would succeed in ousting Romney as the party’s ultimate presidential nominee. Romney has won 1,575 delegates in primaries, according to The New York Times' delegate count, more than enough to secure the nomination.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t try until their very last option is exhausted. And that’s at least a small headache for the Romney campaign.

“It’s a really, really small window,” Terhune said. “A little teeny dot of light at the horizon.”

Under existing party rules, it takes a plurality of delegates from five states to place another candidate’s name up for nomination. That candidate would then be given the chance to address the convention.

In Terhune’s “teeny dot of light” scenario, that’s when Paul would be able to persuade, through the force of rhetoric, enough delegates to broker the convention.

Ron Paul in Southern Nevada

Rep. Ron Paul arrives for an appearance at American Shooters, an indoor gun range and retail store in Las Vegas Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Even if that were a possibility, party officials have been negotiating with Paul campaign officials in the other states that potentially would have joined Nevada in a five-state strategy to put Paul’s name into nomination.

Deals have been struck in Louisiana and Massachusetts, and negotiations are under way in Maine that would limit the number of Paul supporters seated as delegates, according to national news accounts. Other Paul strongholds include Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Colorado.

To appease Paul supporters, the party has made concessions on some of the party platform language, and Paul’s son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, has been given a prime-time speaking slot.

Although it’s working to avoid any embarrassing scenario during the national convention, the Romney campaign isn’t overly concerned, according to a campaign source.

“Republicans love their parliamentary procedure, and people love to talk about this kind of stuff, but at the end of the day, this convention is going to go exactly as it’s supposed to go,” the source said.

A Republican Party official declined to comment.

Putting a candidate’s name up for nomination is not the same as voting for the ultimate nominee. Paul’s supporters would have to persuade 1,144 delegates to switch their vote to take the nomination away from Romney.

Given the fact that Romney has won an overwhelming majority of the delegates, and given the party’s requirement that results in early states are binding, that’s unlikely.

In Nevada, for example, 20 of the 28 delegates are required to vote for Romney as the ultimate nominee, even if the individual delegate personally supports Paul.

Still, Paul supporters will not acknowledge defeat.

“We’ve been communicating with some other Ron Paul delegates. ... Anything’s possible,” said Carl Bunce, Paul’s former Nevada campaign chairman. “That’s the way conventions work. Right now, the Romney campaign is making sure his (Paul’s) name doesn’t get on the ballot. But if his name gets on there and Rand speaks, and Ron speaks, people wake up. I’ve seen it happen.”

Karoun Demirjian contributed to this story.

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