TAMPA, Fla. — “As Maine Goes, So Goes The Nation.”
That was the chant heard as long lines of Ron Paul delegates and their supporters walked out of the Republican National Convention last night just as John McCain began speaking. As Human Eventsâ?? Hope Hodge reported at the time, â??the chant was a reference to a GOP leadership move to split the Maine delegation in order to keep Paul from receiving all the stateâ??s delegates, and thus maintaining a united front for Romney.â?
Along with the delegation involved in the Maine dispute, Paul supporters who were delegates from Texas and Virginia joined the walkout to show solidarity with the Maine contingent.
â??There was no compromise on thisâ??the Credentials Committee (of the convention) just split the delegation and went along with what the party bosses in Maine wanted,â? Lisa Mata, an alternate delegate from Texas, told Human Events as she was walking out. Mata and others were particularly upset at House Speaker John Boehner for ruling on a voice vote Friday that the â??ayesâ? had it in terms of accepting the Credentials Committee report supporting a split of the Maine delegation.
Michael Coleman, who is also part of the Maine delegation, told us that he had spoken to his stateâ??s Republican Gov. Paul LePage and â??he didnâ??t like the resolution of this either. And thatâ??s why he decided not to come to Tampa — to show solidarity with us.â?
In announcing his decision to remain in Augusta, Maine during the convention, LePage told reporters: â??I made it clear, when the challenge was issued, that I felt the Maine delegates selected at the Maine Convention should be seated in Tampa. It is unfortunate that not all of these delegates will be seated.â?
The Paul forces in Maine claimed they abided by the rules of the state GOP convention earlier this year and were entitled to all 20delegates going to Tampa. But opponents led by then-Republican National Committeewoman Jan Staples charged that the Paul people ran roughshod over parliamentary procedure and other rules at the convention and supported splitting the delegation into groups of ten each for Paul and Mitt Romney. The Credentials Committee agreed with Staples (who was deposed from her position at the state convention) and voted to support splitting the delegation.
â??They just didnâ??t like the way the process turned out and the fact we won,â? Pete Harceng, a Paul supporter from Auburn, Maine known as â??Pete the Carpenter,â? told us, â??and now they made a train wreck unavoidable.â?
As emotional as the Maine controversy is, Coleman, Harceng, and others we spoke to said they would vote for Romney because they feared four more years of Barack Obama. Lisa Mata said she was â??undecided at this pointâ? about who to support.