Ron Paul supporters have taken over the Iowa GOP State Convention, in Des Moines, in an effort to increase the clout of their candidate’s libertarian message towards the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Paul fans said they hope to repeat the successes of previous state conventions, such as Nevada and Maine, where they were able to promote their candidate’s conservative principles by “flooding ballots for the convention and urging changes to the party platform,” a strategy that also allowed them to win 32 of the 40 national delegates at last month’s Minnesota GOP convention.
"We want to send Ron Paul-inspired folks to that convention to show we're not going away," says Iowa Republican David Fischer, a top Paul backer in the state.
So far, the method has served Paul supporters well as they have been able to take top roles in state party organizations as well as support like-minded candidates in ballots across the country. In Maine, 21-year-old Ron Paul supporter Ashley Ryan was elected the state's new Republican national committeewoman while A.J. Spiker – who ran Paul's campaign for Iowa's leadoff nominating caucuses – was elected state GOP chairman in February.
And the goal in Iowa is to win 25 delegate slots on the ballot, a testament that – as presumptive nominee Mitt Romney readies to accept the nomination – Ron Paul's movement goes beyond this campaign. "It's never been about a man. It's about liberty, and turning the tide," said Marianne Stebbins, Paul's Minnesota state director who was elected a national delegate on May 18.
Ron Paul may speak at the August national convention in Tampa, as it's become customary for onetime rivals to take the podium to show unity. But supporters have faced some resistance to their plans to hold a three-day Paul rally – PaulFest – on the eve of the convention.
Iowa Republicans will send a total of 28 delegates to Tampa – 12 elected from the districts, 13 elected from an at-large slate, plus the state party chairman and the two national committee members. All are unbound, meaning they’re free to vote how they choose at the national convention.
Here are the names the Paul movement in Iowa wants to voted in today as delegates to the national convention: Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Margaret Stoldorf, Michelle Bullock, James Mills, Steve Anders, Roger Leahy, Mark Hansen, Will Johnson, Lexy Nuzum, Andrea Bie, David Fischer, and Drew Ivers.
The delegates elected from the four congressional districts Friday night are Jeff Luecke, Brent Oleson and Kelly Schoen from the 1st District; Ani DeGroot, Anderson and Ed Kelenyi from the 2nd District; Nancy Bowery, Gopal Krishna and Glen Massie from the 3rd District; and Dusty Juhl, Brian Kraft and Jeff Taylor from the 4th District.
The alternate delegates selected are: Sarah Stokes, Chelsy Askren, Aaron Dowdell, Kurt Whalen, Chris Ganny, Chet Swanson, Buddi Brooks, Gabe Lanz, Jonas Cuttor, Titus Landegent, Benjamin DuBois and Eric Grote.