It was clear from the start of the Iowa Republican Party’s state convention today that a struggle would be played out between forces in the party who are part of Ron Paul’s movement and others in the GOP who aren’t. Bill Talbot of Story County — the convention’s parliamentarian — struggled to keep order.
“This is not going well,” Talbot said about 90 minutes after the convention had started.
Tempers occasionally flared. One man screamed, “Point of order!” Talbot replied: “You’re out of order. We are trying to be pleasant people here. We’re trying to let everyone be heard. We’re trying to figure out how to do this fairly and efficiently and the next person that does that is going to be removed from this convention. Do you understand?”
As many in the crowd cheered, the man replied: “I said it politely twice.”
Will Johnson of Dubuque County suggested Ron Paul supporters followed the party rules to win their spots as decision makers and would leave the party if they’re overruled.
“You get involved in the beginning. If you don’t and you don’t like the results and you try to change it now, you know what will happen? Nobody will get involved at the precinct, county or district level,” Johnson said Saturday morning. “You will ruin this party for the next two to four years.”
A delegate named Leta, from Warren County, interjected: “Ron Paul has officially pulled out of the race, so we all should go for Mitt Romney.”
Some delegates applauded her comment, while others yelled, “No” and a few booed. Delegate Bethany Gates of Benton County said sending an entire slate of Ron Paul supporters to the national convention is a black eye for Iowa’s Caucuses.
“We are going to look ridiculous and we will lose our first-in-the-nation (status),” she said.
Paul backers successfully resisted an effort to require the slate of Iowa GOP delegates who’ll be elected later today reveal this weekend which candidate they would support at the national convention in Tampa. Delegate Ed Noyce said there’s no guarantee Mitt Romney will be the party’s nominee.
“We don’t know anything that might happen between now and the convention,” he said. “We don’t have any idea.”
By 2 p.m. Saturday delegate votes were still being counted for the selection of a Republican National Committeeman for Iowa. A vote on a Republican National Committeewoman comes after that, followed by election of a slate of delegates for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Debate over the party’s platform is at the end of the agenda for the state convention.
Iowa Democrats are holding their state convention today as well.