Ron Paul forces failed to secure a plurality of delegates at the state Republican convention in Nebraska, a state that could have guaranteed that Paul be entered into nomination for president and be given a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Barring any unseen scandal or health issue, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is all but certain to be the GOP nominee.
Paul has won a majority of delegates in four states — Maine, Iowa, Louisiana, and Minnesota — who will be able to vote for him on the first ballot. Under party rules, he needed to garner a plurality of delegates in at least five states in order for his name to be entered into nomination for president from the floor at the Tampa Republican National Convention and to be granted a 15-minute, prime-time speaking slot.
The Omaha World newspaper put Paul's Nebraska defeat on Saturday in stark terms: “In the end, the Paul revolution in Nebraska got smoked. Paul, a libertarian Texas congressman, won only two of the state GOP's 35 national convention delegates. Romney, the party's presumptive presidential nominee, won the rest.”
Party establishment forces rejoiced at the victory. “We had a primary process,” Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman told the Omaha World July 14. “Mitt Romney won that and Ron Paul didn't win a single state. I wanted Nebraska to reflect that.” Heineman's political credibility was also at stake in the convention, as he was the first governor in the nation to endorse the Romney campaign.
Barring any changes in delegates or their status (some Ron Paul supporters are bound to Romney), Paul forces must depend upon the generosity of the Romney campaign for a floor speaking slot at the convention.
The only controversy at the Nebraska convention was whether to unseat party establishment delegates from Buffalo and Dodge Counties, and to instead seat delegates from rump conventions won by the Paul campaign. Paul supporters had complained of the procedures used by those two county's party leaders in county conventions back in June, and left Buffalo and Dodge GOP conventions to hold their own conventions and nominate their own candidates.
The Nebraska-based Grand Island Independent reported July 14 of the state convention that efforts to remove the establishment candidates and put in Paul delegates failed. “The motion lost with 125 in favor and 185 opposed. After losing by 60 votes, no attempt was made to strike the Buffalo County delegation.” Romney, who had won 71 percent of the state primary vote, also clearly had control of a majority of the state convention's delegates.
The Buffalo County GOP convention in June was the most controversial. GOP leaders there forced a rump Ron Paul convention with its own slate of delegates, the same delegates not recognized at the state convention.
Ron Paul forces expressed resolution to press on, despite the setback. "We'll be back in two years and in four years," Paul supporter Laura Ebke told the Grand Island Independent. Indeed, Ron Paul supporters seem only destined to grow. The Independent noted that at a Ron Paul reception the evening before the convention that “Ebke said she asked people at the reception how many of them were under age 35 and she said 75 percent of them raised their hands.”
Photo of Ron Paul: AP Images