The Ron Paul revolution has completed its sweep over the Minnesota Republican Party convention here.
Paul backers won 12 of 13 Republican National Convention delegate slots filled in balloting Saturday, May 19, at Rivers Edge Civic Center.
They might have taken all 13 seats if a Paul state delegate had not graciously conceded the final slot to Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The results mean 32 of Minnesota’s 40 national delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa in August will be committed to Paul. Supporters of the Texas congressman and presidential candidate won 20 of the 24 national delegate slots filled at Republican congressional district conventions earlier this spring.
The vote was a well-organized coup by the Paul newcomers over longtime party activists.
“It shows that the Ron Paul people are extremely organized and very serious about winning those spots, and the non-Ron Paul folks were not as well organized,” said Republican National Committeeman Jeff Johnson.
Marianne Stebbins, Paul’s state campaign chairwoman, said their victory “sends a message that we’re not just giving lip service to liberty and smaller government — we’re serious about it…”
Paul has all but conceded the GOP nomination to Romney, but his supporters reportedly hope to influence the party platform…
His victory in Minnesota also could have a practical impact. He needs the support of five state delegations in order to have his name placed in nomination at the national convention, which would allow him to give a prime-time speech.
Stebbins said if national party leaders are smart, they will welcome Paul supporters with open arms…
“We have had bitter battles in the past at endorsing conventions, where people were at each other’s throats, but we came together in the end and stood by the candidates,” she said. “I think we’re already unifying.”
The Paul crowd pulled off a bloodless coup. Unlike other states where brawls broke out between Paul fans and Romney supporters, the Minnesota convention was a relatively civil affair. There were no fistfights or shouting matches on the convention floor…
As tension mounted between the Paul newcomers and the longtime activists they displaced, Johnson took the microphone to address that issue head on. He told the delegates to acknowledge their disagreements.
To the “Ron Paul lovers,” he said that many in the old guard think “you don’t care about the Republican Party.”
“If that makes you mad, make sure it doesn’t happen,” Johnson said. He called on Paul’s supporters to stay active and help elect all GOP candidates.
To the “Ron Paul haters,” he said, “get over it. If we don’t grow, we die as a party…”