Political skullduggery is afoot in Massachusetts regarding 16 of the 41 total delegates that were supposed to represent the state’s Republican Party at the national convention in August. The Massachusetts GOP disqualified the delegates because they did not sign affidavits declaring they would cast their votes for Mitt Romney at the RNC in Tampa. This is the first time the Massachusetts Republican Party has ever required its delegates to the national convention to sign such a document, and there is no provision in the either the state or national Republican Party rules that calls for it.
The reason—though the state party will not admit it—for this sudden rule change, is because many of the handpicked pro-Romney candidates for the delegate slots lost in the state’s April caucuses lost to the delegates currently being purged. Less than half of Romney’s picks for those slots won, and the result was more than a dozen delegates favorable to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.
One of those delegates is 18 year old Evan Kenney, who, though he supports Paul, told Rachel Maddow, “I will be happy to represent the voters of Massachusetts and vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot at the convention. That’s what I ran for.” Despite Kenney’s verbal pledge (which is all that party rules require of delegates), and his signing of a notarized document attesting to same, the Massachusetts Republican Party is taking a hard line because of Kenney’s (and others') refusal to sign the GOP’s affidavit, which clumsily asks delegates to pledge to do something in the future “under the pain and penalty of perjury.”
So the Massachusetts GOP, after failing to legitimately get elected its handpicked pro-Romney party stalwarts in the caucuses, has changed the rules in the middle of the game and punished those who still wish to operate by the rules in place when this whole process began. The arbitrary rule change shows that Massachusetts Republicans fear anything short of a unanimous pro-Romney delegation at the RNC, lest the former governor of the state have to endure a close—and embarrassing—delegate vote count.
The delegates have filed an appeal to the Republican National Committee, which will take up the matter but not render a decision until a week before the convention in Tampa begins on August 27.