TAMPA, Fla. — Some Oklahoma Republicans hope to block a proposed rule change at their party's national convention here Tuesday that they say would diminish the power of states to select presidential delegates.
Carolyn McLarty, one of Oklahoma's members on the Republican National Committee, called the proposed rule change “dangerous” and said it could effectively allow presidential candidates to pick a state's Republican delegates to the national convention and silence dissent in state parties on various issues.
“We're a grassroots party,” McLarty told Oklahoma delegates at their breakfast Monday. “If we pass this rule change, we're no longer a grassroots party. We're a top-down party.”
But Linda LePac, an Oklahoma delegate who served on the party committee that drafted the rule, said it was a compromise that wasn't intended to impose centralized control over state delegates. Rather, she said, it was meant to ensure delegates voted “the will of the people in your state.”
The rule would allow the national party, in consultation with state party organizations, to “disavow” delegates unwilling to vote in line with primary or caucus results, she said.
The esoteric debate stems from the strategy used by supporters of former presidential candidate Ron Paul to win delegate spots in Oklahoma and a handful of other states.
The campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been working for weeks to minimize any disruptions at the convention because of the Paul supporters, and some party leaders want to limit similar situations in the future.