By Ernest Luning
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Last Friday, a Republican National Convention delegate from Denver filed a formal petition with the national GOP asking that State Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call be thrown off the convention’s Credentials Committee, charging that state party rules don’t allow the kind of election that put Call on the panel. The complaint stirs up simmering tension in Colorado’s delegation between backers of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and upstart supporters of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who hasn’t conceded the nomination.
Florence Sebern, an unpledged RNC delegate from the 1st Congressional District who supports Paul, charges that Call’s election to the Credentials Committee — conducted last month via email — should be invalidated and wants the delegation to meet in person to fill the slot.
Sean Conway, left, a former delegate for Rick Santorum and chairman of the state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, listens as GOP State Chairman Ryan Call, Colorado’s newest member of the Credentials Committee, talks about the upcoming convention during an informal get-together for delegates last weekend.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman
“In a nutshell, this election cannot be an email election, it has to be a meeting,” Sebern told The Colorado Statesman. “We don’t have a provision for email elections.” She added, “I don’t want to condemn the delegation, I just want to get it fixed.”
Credentials is one of a handful of bodies — others include the Rules and Platform committees — that convene before the national convention gets under way on Aug. 27 in Tampa, culminating in the nomination of a presidential candidate. It rules on delegate accreditation, potentially a flash point this year as Romney and Paul supporters lay conflicting claims to numerous state delegations.
The Republican National Committee hadn’t ruled on her petition by press time, but a miffed Call dismissed Sebern’s complaint as a “distraction” in an interview with The Statesman. He predicted it wouldn’t get in the way of Republicans winning the swing state’s nine electoral votes for Romney.
“With respect to the complaint that a particular delegate has filed, it is entirely without merit either in terms of process or in terms of substance, and so our focus is just really going to be how we’re going to support the election of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,” Call said on Monday. “Colorado is really excited to be able to welcome Paul Ryan to the event we’re doing tomorrow, and our focus is 100 percent on advancing a positive message of supporting our nominee in Mitt Romney, and anything else is just a distraction.”
Sebern bristled at Call’s suggestion that her complaint was merely a diversion.
“If we want to restore trust in the integrity of our election processes, it starts where we live,” she told The Statesman. “As a national delegate, I have been elected to represent a segment of the GOP who are earnestly and actively engaged for the future of the GOP and our Constitutional Republic. I had an obligation to speak up and I did.”
At stake in the looming Credentials fight: whether Ron Paul supporters control enough state delegations to force the convention to give Paul a meaningful role in Tampa, including a potential prime-time speaking slot and even the chance his name might appear on the nominating ballot. Before the RNC gavels itself to order later this month, dozens of Paul supporters plan to ask the Credentials Committee to overrule state-level organizations and allow them to be seated as delegates.
- Complaint Filed Against Colorado GOP State Chairman (dailypaul.com)
- Complaint Filed Against Colorado GOP State Chairman (libertycrier.com)
- Ron Paul Will Have 500 Delegates at the RNC: 10 Reasons He Should Speak at the GOP Convention (jeenyuscorner.com)
- National GOP Changes the Rules on Maine’s Delegation (prweb.com)
- With threat, LePage raises stakes for Republican convention (bangordailynews.com)