August 20, 2014

Paul backers in Iowa cry foul over GOP rules for 2016

A key GOP panel has just voted to require delegates to future national conventions to be bound by the popular vote in state primary and caucus contests.

Ron Paul supporters in Iowa see that as a slap at them, as 82 percent of the Iowa delegates at next week’s GOP convention in Tampa back Paul, who finished third in January’s Iowa Caucuses. Iowa Republican Party chairman A.J. Spiker worked on Paul’s Caucus campaign.

“I’m shocked that the Romney campaign would decide to divide Republicans just before the national convention,” Spiker said, from Tampa, during an interview with Radio Iowa.

A Romney campaign ally made the proposal that sparked Spiker’s remark — a proposal that has been approved by the GOP’s Rules Committee, meeting today (Friday) in Tampa before the national convention begins there Monday. Critics of the current system say it’s unfair to presidential candidates who win the voting in a state contest, like the Iowa Caucuses, but don’t win an equal proportion of national convention delegates from that state.

Governor Branstad, a Republican, has been a delegate to seven national conventions.

“Generally speaking, the delegates have been proportioned fairly close to how (presidential candidates) did in the Caucuses,” Branstad told Radio Iowa during a telephone interview early this afternoon.

Branstad supports the move to bind delegates to the results of the Caucus Night voting.

“I just think it does make a lot of sense and I’d be certainly supportive of that,” Branstad said. “I think that way the people who go to the Caucuses can feel their representation is reflected in the (national convention) delegation.”

Branstad is headed to Tampa, where he’ll be an Iowa delegate at the national GOP convention.

David Fischer was co-chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa Caucus campaign and he argued Paul delegates got to Tampa fair and square.

“It occurs to me that the GOP is supposed to be the party of states rights,” Fischer told Radio Iowa today. “I think Iowans can decide for themselves how to elect Iowa’s delegates to the national convention and I think it’s a mistake for the national party to try to dictate to the states how they’re going to run their organizations.”

Fischer has been a member of the Iowa Republican party’s state central committee for the past two years and he is a delegate to the convention in Tampa next week.

“I’m not taking it personally, but it’s hard not to see as this clearly a response to the strength of the Ron Paul delegation going into the convention this year,” Fischer said.

Of the 28 delegates from Iowa who are headed to the Tampa convention, 23 are Ron Paul supporters. Paul finished third in Caucus night voting, with 21.5 percent. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney were essentially tied, each with 24.6 percent of the vote.

(This story was updated at 1:44 p.m. with additional information)