The Ron Paul delegate strategy is twofold: win delegates other than in primaries, and select delegates that must vote for other candidates, but only on the first ballot. Ron Paul will lose or win, depending on whether Mitt Romney wins, or does not win, enough votes to nominate him on the first ballot. After that first ballot, anything goes—literally.
Ron Paul delegate strategy: assigning delegates
Ron Paul has spent the least amount of money of any Republican candidate for President. That’s one reason his campaign has $2 million cash-on-hand, while Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s campaigns are in debt. (The other reason are the thousands of small gifts that supporters give him over the Internet—the “Money Bomb.”) Last Sunday, Doug Wead explained why, and cited the Louisiana case as a prize example.
Months ago the Ron Paul campaign looked at Louisiana and decided that the best strategy was to concentrate on the caucus. The rules in Louisiana apportion 20 of the states delegates from the votes in its statewide primary, which was held last March and 24 delegates from it caucus system which elects delegates at the precinct level to go to district conventions where they elect delegates to go to the state convention where the final delegation will be chosen.
What would you do? Spend your money trying to win the 20? Or spend your money trying to win the 24?
Ron Paul spent the money trying to win the 24, or as many as he could. To do this he gained control of the caucuses, and now controls 74 percent of the delegates at the State convention. Result: Ron Paul stands to gain all 24 delegates. That’s a clear majority. (He also might get 5 of the 15 delegates that everyone said would go to Rick Santorum.) Mitt Romney will get only 5.
The contributor “Hector in Miami” to The Daily Paul has kept track of other such delegate assignments in other States. Pay attention to the results in the Five Primaries on April 24. Connecticut and Delaware assigned its delegates by a winner-take-all rule. But in Pennsylvania, none of the delegates are bound. Rhode Island assigns delegates in proportion to the primary vote. New York assigned 34 delegates by winner-take-all rules, but the State convention will assign another 56 delegates from New York. Blogger Jake Towne explained it in greater detail, with names of delegates and alternates.)
Ron Paul delegate strategy: delegate loyalty
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14). Photo: US House of Representatives
Ron Paul hopes to win in another way: picking delegates loyal to him, even among delegates bound to vote for someone else. Louisiana gives an example of that, too. Of the fifteen delegates that the law binds to vote for Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney, all will be Ron Paul loyalists. Each must vote for his or her assigned candidate, but on the first ballot only. After that first ballot, any delegate may vote as he or she pleases.
“Hector in Miami” gave more details yesterday. How many delegates Mitt Romney has, depends on whomyouask: at least 841, as many as 869. Or has he? He needs 1144 delegates to win on the first ballot. So he might need as many as 303 delegates. Obviously Ron Paul must see that Mitt Romney does not get them. He has 14 more primaries contest between now and the convention.
But those State conventions also choose who will cast the delegate votes. Massachusetts gives the most instructive example. The Boston Globe, as old-line and mainstream as it gets, reported yesterday that the Massachusetts State convention did not pick the delegates whom Mitt Romney had chosen. They elected Ron Paul loyalists to more than half the slots. True, they must all vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot. But on the second and later ballots, they may vote for whom they please. Furthermore, the law does not instruct delegates on how to vote in the platform debate, or the Vice-Presidential ballot on the last day of the Convention.
What can Ron Paul gain?
Ron Paul will have solid support for his ideas during the platform debate. And he can almost force whomever the Party nominates to come to him for approval of a candidate for Vice-President. The Independent Voters’ Network further says that Ron Paul has taken over many State Republican parties for years to come.
If the delegates fail to nominate Mitt Romney on the first ballot, Ron Paul might then have many more delegates than the “official” tallies suggest. Those delegates would form a large bloc to support Paul.
But Ron Paul has two problems, and their names are Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Newt Gingrich has signaled that he will “suspend” his campaign and endorse Mitt Romney. Romney might buy Newt Gingrich’s delegates. The price: $4 million, the amount of Newt Gingrich’s campaign debt. (No candidate closes a campaign in debt.) Santorum might do the same.
The Green Papers says this about the “release” of convention delegates:
National Convention delegates are bound for the 1st ballot unless “released from the pledge only in the event of death, withdrawal, or by decision of the candidate” [General Rules for all Conventions and Meetings. Section 10.b.1 and Emergency SREC meeting on 29 February 2012].
That’s why Mitt Romney might offer to make that $4 million debt go away: to influence the decision of Newt Gingrich to release his delegates from their pledge. But can he order them to vote for Romney instead of himself? In legal terms, he can’t. And if Ron Paul’s people select the delegates, Newt will have no control over them.