Ron Paul’s campaign acknowledges it no longer has a chance of winning the nomination, but they still plan to bring a large and active delegation to the Republican National Convention, prompting fears of an ugly confrontation with mainstream GOPers. That’s a scenario that the Paul campaign wants desperately to avoid, according to spokesman Jesse Benton.
In a conference call laying out Paul’s plans moving forward, Benton stressed that Paul would insist supporters show “respect” — a word he used at least eight times — in attending the Tampa event.
“We’re emphasizing decorum and we’re going to do everything in our power to work with our supporters to make sure that decorum and respect are the name of the game,” Benton said. “But we’re going to respectfully show that our people are here and we’re the way of the future.”
While Paul is still campaigning and trying to maximize delegates to the national convention, Benton said that the math shows Romney is the presumptive nominee.
“We laid out a strategy that would have put us in a very good position at a brokered convention,” he said. “Unfortunately other candidates were not able to maintain their strength and only Ron and Gov. Romney remain. We recognize that Gov. Romney has what is very likely to be an insurmountable delegate lead.”
According to Benton, convention goals will instead include trying to secure platform positions supporting changes to monetary policy, greater transparency for the Fed, an end to indefinite detentions, and a pledge to support “market based solutions to Internet problems.” Another key mission for Paul supporters will be to sit in on the committee meetings to determine the rules governing the next election’s nominating process, rules that the Paul campaign has been most adept at exploiting to expand its delegate count beyond states’ initial votes.
According to Benton, Paul has been in touch with the Romney campaign to discuss platform issues, and said the former governor has been “helpful.”
As for Paul supporting Romney, though, Benton said it’s “not likely.” Nor would Paul consider backing third-party candidate Gary Johnson, who is trying to court Paul supporters with a libertarian message.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.