Backers of GOP presidential contender Ron Paul will appeal the results of last weekend's state Republican convention, saying a session held afterward in which supporters of the Texas congressman swept all delegate spots to the national convention should count, a campaign official said Monday.
“We contend that the convention held inside was run improperly, particularly the election of national delegates and alternates,” said Lukus Collins, grass roots organizer for Paul's campaign in Oklahoma. “We also believe that the meeting was adjourned improperly so we simply continued the convention outdoors and we contend that the decisions made during that time are proper and legal and conform more properly to state party rules. We're going to do what we can to follow the process and appeal at the chain of command.”
Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said results of Saturday's daylong convention will stand unless the Republican National Committee should rule otherwise.
“We had a majority on every vote that was made there on Saturday,” Pinnell said.
Most of the approximately 1,400 delegates at Saturday's convention approved by voice vote a slate of 25 delegates and 25 alternates selected by the party's executive committee.
The Paul supporters submitted their own slate of delegates and alternates, but failed to get enough votes to amend convention rules to let delegates vote on both slates. A paper ballot vote showed that 60 percent of the delegates supported the state party's slate.
Marc Nuttle, of Norman, elected by the delegates as convention chairman, allowed for a voice vote of the national delegates because it was the only slate to be considered. Had the vote failed, national delegates would have been elected individually.
Paul supporters complained, saying the slate should have been decided by a roll-call vote, in which delegates would vote by county and report their tallies to convention officials. Nuttle denied their request; Paul supporters appealed and a vote taken by those standing either to approve or reject Nuttle's decision showed a majority supported his ruling.
“Whether we had done a roll-call vote or not, it would not have changed the outcome,” Pinnell said.
Parking lot meeting
Paul backers used Nuttle's ruling as a basis for contending the national delegates were elected improperly. And when they felt the convention adjourned without getting approval of two-thirds of the delegates, they claimed they had the ability to continue the proceedings. They met outside the Embassy Suites Hotel in Norman and elected their slate of Paul backers as delegates to the national convention in August in Tampa, Fla. Collins said nearly 400 attended the gathering.
“I don't think they had a quorum of delegates in the parking lot,” Pinnell said. “Their delegates are free to obviously convene wherever they want but our convention was adjourned. We had a firm timeline; it was stated on the agenda that we would have to be out of the hotel by 5 p.m. There was no question about that.”
The daylong convention was hindered by many disagreements over party rules and at least one physical altercation occurred between opposing supporters.
Backers of Paul also booed Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a onetime 2012 GOP presidential contender, when both encouraged the delegates to support the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Paul supporters, who numbered about 600 and made up about 40 percent of the convention, used various parliamentary procedures to contest rules.
Convention officials had difficulty determining credentials of the delegates. When delegates cast their votes, 83 more voted then were listed as approved delegates. The discrepancies weren't cleared up until about 3 p.m., or two hours before the convention was scheduled to adjourn.
“I wish it was cleaner,” Pinnell said. “I wish it wasn't as messy as it was.”
Collins said Paul supporters won nine of the 15 congressional district national delegate slots. It appears three are committed to Romney but the other six could vote for Paul.
If the evening gathering's results would be ruled official, then Paul would have 24 of the state's 43 delegates. “We've got to move forward,” Pinnell said. “There's no doubt about it my biggest job as chairman moving forward is helping heal this process what happened on Saturday and trying to unite as many people behind our nominee as possible.”