Republican National Committee hears Oklahoma protest

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: August 21, 2012
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A panel of the Republican National Committee heard the appeal Monday from a group claiming Oklahoma GOP officials violated rules and procedures in electing 25 delegates and 25 alternates to the Republican National Convention.

The Republican National Committee's contest committee earlier this month issued a report that Oklahoma's GOP delegates and alternates were properly selected.

The contest committee, meeting in Tampa, Fla., could issue its findings on the appeal as soon as Tuesday. Its report will be submitted to the Republican National Committee, which will turn it over to the Republican National Convention's credential committee.

That group should act on the findings Thursday. The GOP national convention begins Monday in Tampa.

Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell and Marc Nuttle, of Norman, who served as chairman of the Oklahoma Republican State Convention in May, both testified during Monday's hearing, which lasted about an hour.

No one testified on behalf of the challengers.

“The committee listened to both sides and took questions,” Pinnell said. “I thought it was a very fair process.”

Porter Davis, of Oklahoma City, is among those who have argued the state convention results should be discarded.

“If they should rule in our favor, it still has to go to the RNC Committee and then onto credentials,” he said. “I think it would take a miracle to get through all of that, because they know the results they want.”

Davis said Oklahoma Republican Party officials violated party rules by failing to have a roll-call vote on the proposed national delegates selected by the party's executive committee. A group of state delegates, most of them supporters of Ron Paul's presidential bid, voted against adjourning the state convention and met outside the Embassy Suites Hotel in Norman after the convention and elected their own slate of 25 delegates and alternates to the national convention.

The outdoor gathering concluded a day of efforts by supporters of Paul, a Texas congressman who had sought the GOP presidential nomination.

They used various parliamentary procedures to contest rules and booed Gov. Mary Fallin when she urged the approximately 1,400 state delegates to back former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who since has gained enough delegates to be the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.