Updated at 5:34 p.m.
Some Ron Paul supporters attending the Republican National Convention this week aren’t happy with the way their candidate is being treated by Mitt Romney ’s campaign. And they want to be heard.
At a rally of his supporters at the Sun Dome Arena in Tampa on Sunday, several voiced their frustration with successful efforts to unseat Paul delegates in three states.
Ashley Ryan, a Paul delegate from Maine, drew a standing ovation at the rally when she said she was proud of Maine Governor Paul LePage. He has refused to participate in the convention because the credentials committee unseated half of the state’s 20 Paul convention delegates. A Romney supporter, LePage announced Aug. 24 that he wouldn’t attend the convention, saying in a statement that it was “unfortunate that not all of these delegates” selected at the state Republican Party convention will be seated.
Ryan spoke at the “We are the Future Rally” of Paul supporters on the campus of the University of South Florida. “Maybe its about time we audit the RNC,” Michigan Representative Justin Amash told the crowd, referring to the Republican National Committee.
The 10 unseated Maine delegates could have avoided a challenge to their credentials had they pledged to support Romney, said Eric Brakey, one of those unseated by the credentials committee. Brakey, 24, said the 10 Maine delegates told Romney campaign representatives that “you will have to steal it from us” instead of making a deal to preserve their seats. Another 10 Paul delegates from Maine, including Ryan, will be seated. The state has a total of 24 delegates to the convention.
In his speech to the rally, Paul also referred to the dispute over his unseated delegates.
“People at the RNC were worried about just how much trouble we would cause,” Paul said. “There is a big fight going on… and they overstepped their bounds.” He went on to say others were joining the cause because they realize “the Ron Paul people are right.”
Paul also joked that the Republican convention organizers changed their mind and invited him to speak for “a whole hour, to say anything I want” — but to an empty hall. “The speech would be tomorrow night,” Paul said, referring to the fact that Tropical Storm Isaac forced convention organizer’s to postpone Monday’s start until Tuesday.
Brakey said because of the Romney campaign’s “scorched earth tactics” he will focus his efforts on helping elect Republicans to state and local offices — instead of working to elect Romney. Brakey ran Paul’s presidential campaign in the state and is now chairman the Defense of Liberty Political Action Committee.
The successful efforts to unseat Paul delegates in Louisiana, Oregon and Maine will make it harder for Paul supporters to seek to amend the party platform or put Paul’s name in nomination. Under convention rules, a candidate who controls five state delegations can make a motion on the floor. That is no longer possible, Brakey said, because Paul delegates were “stripped away from us by the Romney campaign.”
Still, Paul delegates were meeting later today to discuss tactics, including the possibility of trying to amend the platform, said Janice Grace, a Michigan delegate. Grace, 41, declined to say what action was being considered, but said none of the Paul delegates she has spoken with plan to support Romney. She added she won’t be voting for him in November because “I have no hope for him changing our country at all.”
Grace also believes Romney doesn’t have a clear plan to cut spending or simplify taxes, and that his lack of specifics about which tax deductions he would eliminate to pay for lower tax rates is evidence that he wants to keep those deductions.
“He is still for the wars, ” said Grace, and advocates “nothing’ the Paul delegates stand for.”