by Rachel Weiner
Remember Ron Paul?
He has yet to win a primary. All his other fellow long-shots have dropped out (or will by the end of the day). The Republican National Committee is calling former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney the “presumptive nominee.”
Yet at state conventions around the country, Paul supporters are increasing the candidate’s support by taking over state party committees and educating fellow Paul fans in arcane rules.
While at many conventions Romney backers are split between numerous would-be delegates, Paul supporters are showing up in droves and voting with discipline for a delegate slate.
With a plurality of delegates from five states, Paul supporters could nominate him from the convention floor — the goal of at least some Paul supporters. .
A brokered convention is still unlikely. But a strong showing among delegates could help Paul score a speaking spot and some control over the party platform.
Here’s the latest on Paul’s strength in state committees and conventions:
At Massachusetts’ state convention less than half of Romney’s 27 chosen delegates won tickets to Tampa. Paul supporters were chosen instead. While all of the state’s delegates are committed to vote for Romney, the delegates get to decide on the party chairman, platform, and VP nominee.
Paul supporters are a majority in the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee, and he’s set to claim a majority of the state’s delegates despite finishing third in the caucuses.
They dominated the caucuses in Louisiana, carrying four out of six congressional districts with a tie in a fifth. That means 74 percent of the state’s convention delegates will be Paul backers.
In Minnesota, Paul won 20 of 24 delegates allocated at congressional district conventions, and he’s expected to take more at the statewide convention.
Paul supporters teamed up with backers of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in Colorado to get 13 delegates.
The candidate has also picked up small delegate gains in states where Romney won big — for example, five delegates in Pennsylvania and four in Rhode Island.
Attempts to replicate these successes are taking place in other states across the country — for example, the upcoming state convention in Nevada.
“Taken together, these victories and those yet to happen forecast a prominent role for Ron Paul at the RNC,” Paul campaign manager John Tate said after the Colorado and Minnesota gains. “They also signal that the convention will feature a spirited discussion over whether conservatism will triumph over the status quo.”
Paul has only 80 delegates to Romney’s 847, according to an AP count. When all the various state conventions are over we’ll see how much support he’s gathered — and whether Romney should have paid more attention.