Delegates to represent Louisiana at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL were chosen today, but not without issue. Ron Paul supporters took control of Louisiana's Republican State Convention Saturday, starting their own. It's a trend Paul supporters are doing around the nation, and it's leaving the Republican party divided.
"A majority of the folks at the convention elected him as chairman," Connie Barnard said, referring to Henry Herford. That 58% majority supports Ron Paul. They broke away from the Republican State Convention, turning their chairs away from the main podium and starting a convention of their own. Barnard, who is the vice chairman of the majority convention, says this separation was caused by convention rule changes.
"When those rule changes were released to several of the delegates on Friday, they were not in keeping of ideas of liberty and democracy," she said. Ron Paul supporters claim the new delegation rules make selecting delegates for the national convention in Tampa unfair.
"For example, one of the rule changes were that 1/3 of the delegation would constitute a quorum," Barnard said. "Nowhere does any public body or any seated body does 1/3 constitute a quorum."
The minority convention claims otherwise.
"All we're saying is the Republicans of Louisiana are going to know what we did, they are going to accept what we did," Minority Convention Credential Committee Chairman Jeff Giles said. "They're going to say, oh, y'all were being fair. Y'all were making sure Romney got his 5 delegates and Santorum got his 10."
Giles says the rule change was to prevent Ron Paul supporters from stealing Romney and Santorum delegates.
"We just tightened up the rules. We made it more responsible so that delegates for those candidates would be elected," he said. "Instead of Ron Paul people posing as supporters of those candidates."
However, Ron Paul supporters are the majority, and he won four of the six caucuses in April.
"The majority of the state delegates statewide, who were elected by the registered republicans, elected Ron Paul supporters," Barnard said.
Giles admits Paul's caucus wins but claims the minority convention is protecting Republican Primary votes.
"Ron Paul got nine thousand three hundred something votes," he said. "Santorum got ninety thousand votes. Those voters need to be represented in Tampa."
As for now the Republican Party in Louisiana remains divided, and both conventions have selected delegates for the national convention. The Republican National Committee of contests will hear the case of both conventions in Tampa come August. That national committee will then decide which delegates will represent Louisiana during the national convention. Police say Henry Herford was charged with one count of entering and remaining after being forbidden, a misdemeanor. Herford claims to of been injured during his removal.
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