A little known fact among presidential campaigns is that, along with tallying up delegates to nominate the Presidential nominee, the Vice Presidential nominee must also pass through a nominating process with the convention delegates, though not in quite the same way. Enter Ron Paul’s ever-growing number of delegates heading to Tampa this August and there could be some fireworks in the making.
Report from the Huffington Post:
This may be the Ron Paul gambit we’ve been waiting for.
An obscure rule change made four years ago by the Republican Party has opened the door for Paul forces to cause a major headache for Mitt Romney when he tries to nominate his choice for vice president at the party convention in August.
The Republican National Committee could change Rule 40 in the week leading up to the convention, but that would risk the appearance of jamming Romney’s nominee through, and likely cause a subsequent backlash.
Republican officials are still waking up to the fact that Paul loyalists — who control the majority of delegates in Maine, Minnesota and Iowa, and have sizable contingents in a number of other states — could very likely enter Paul’s name into nomination for vice president. This would force a roll call vote where each delegate of each state is polled on the floor of the convention.
As stated, the GOP could have possibly brought this scenario into view by their own rule change and may be scrambling at this point to try and prevent a VP nomination battle.
The question is, how does this actually happen?
For example, if Romney chose Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as his vice presidential pick, but the Paul forces leveraged their impressive foothold in several states to nominate Paul from the floor, then someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) could emerge as the preferred pick for many delegates as the convention goes into a roll call vote. And Rubio’s name could be entered into nomination, in addition to Paul’s, if a plurality of five states voted to nominate him.
Where things would go from there is anybody’s guess.
Basically what this boils down to is leverage. Ron Paul will undoubtedly have a fairly meaningful role in the convention this year. He could likely land a prime time speaking spot or, at the very least, some preferred influence over the party platform.
There are states, such as Nevada, for example, where Paul supporters have managed to win 22 of 28 delegate spots. Those delegates are bound by state rules to cast their vote on the presidential nominee question for Romney. However, those restrictions don’t apply to the vice presidential nominee. Nevada’s delegates are therefore free to support whoever they want for vice president.
Thus, in the context of the vice presidential nomination, you can add Nevada to the list of states — in addition to Minnesota, Iowa and Maine — where Paul forces control majorities of delegates and would likely support placing Paul’s name into nomination for vice president.
This is before you even get to the question of which states might have a plurality of delegates who want to support Paul –or for that matter his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — for vice president.
Paul said in a recent statement that all together, he estimates to have about 200 delegates headed to Tampa that are bound to him, with another 300 or so delegates supporting him but bound to Romney. But again, those 300 delegates are bound to Romney only on the question of the presidential nominee, and not on the question who should be the party’s vice presidential nominee.
The last sentence is key since that is the condition which forces the bound delegates into supporting Romney for President but not necessarily Romney’s choice for Vice President. With these conditions brewing, there is no doubt Tampa will be a fascinating process to watch of grass roots organizing versus the GOP establishment.