It’s not over for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Not only is the congressman still in the race for the Republican nomination for president, but the longtime libertarian favorite is following through with his big plans for the upcoming GOP convention.
Notwithstanding a presumptive party win for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, presidential hopeful Ron Paul is still scheduled to be in Florida for the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa. What’s more, USA Today reports, is that the people running the RNC are finally ready to accept Rep. Paul and his throng of supporters.
Ron Paul supporters have previously reported that the Republican Party establishment was going out of their way to keep an event in honor of the Texas congressman — PaulFest — from being put on during the same weekend of the RNC.
“They’ve been fighting us all along,” PaulFest organizer Deborah Robinet told The Tampa Bay Times last month. “We’re Republicans. Do they want to alienate us, or do they want to bring us into the fold?”
After failing to win enough delegates during the recent Nebraska State Convention, the GOP was expected to exclude Rep. Paul from speaking at this year’s RNC. When the congressman was kept out of the 2008 event, a counter protest was staged outside. This time around Rep. Paul has remained in the race longer than all other Republican Party candidates, except Mitt Romney, and his campaign and crew of supporters insist on having him represented. Only now, however, do organizers with the Ron Paul campaign say that the RNC are dropping their fight and finally accepting the rest of the party as their own.
"They've just treated us like a friend and like a coalition," Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign, tells USA Today. "They have been honest brokers in working with us and treated us with respect."
Even if the congressman can’t get a full time slot to speak at the RNC, the GOP is giving him access to the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome, a decision that both sides say they were able to agree on mutually.
"We have worked closely with Congressman Paul to secure a location for this event," Kyle Downey, a spokesman for the GOP convention, adds to USA Today. Only one month earlier, RNC spokesman James Davis told the Associated Press that the GOP had received the Paul campaign’s request for a venue but was “making those assignments on a rolling basis." At the time, the Paul campaign complained that delays on part of the RNC put PaulFest in jeopardy.
"Our success brings us some clout," Jesse Benton says of the campaign’s victory.