Oklahomans' votes silenced at convention

By Michael McNutt Published: September 5, 2008
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul received two votes from Oklahoma during Wednesday's Republican National Convention roll call, but no one heard it. The microphone was cut off after U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, announced the 39 delegate votes for U.S. Sen. John McCain, but before he could announce the two votes for Paul.

Delegates Paul Clayton of McAlester and Robert Demarest of Talihina voted for Paul, of Texas, who had sought the GOP presidential nomination.

Oklahoma's vote was announced in the Xcel Energy Center as all 41 votes going to McCain. Inhofe tried to get the attention of convention organizers so he could correct the mistake.

Convention workers eventually said that couldn't be done, possibly because the convention was running late. It was about 11 p.m. when it was Oklahoma's turn to announce its vote in the second round. Several states including Oklahoma abstained on the first round so McCain's home state of Arizona could announce the vote that would allow him to receive the nomination. Then the roll call resumed with the states that had abstained going in alphabetical order.

Convention officials assured Oklahoma that the official convention record would show McCain getting 39 votes and Paul getting two.

People "who watched it on TV saw that all 41 votes from Oklahoma went for John McCain, which is not the truth,” Demarest said.

Frustrated, he and his wife, Cheryl, ripped the Oklahoma patches off their blue blazers — part of the Oklahoma GOP's uniform — before leaving the convention center. AP Video: McCain: Change Is Coming




Above: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, prepares Wednesday to announce the Oklahoma delegation's presidential vote during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., only to have his microphone turned off before announcing two votes for Ron Paul. By Michael McNutt, The Oklahoman

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