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After congressional triumph, all eyes on Ron Paul at RNC

Published time: July 26, 2012 15:01
Edited time: July 26, 2012 19:01
Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan)

Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan)

Mitt Romney is all but certain to secure the GOP nomination for the presidency at next month’s Republican National Convention, but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily steal the show. Ron Paul is still expected to make a splash at the upcoming RNC.

Although the Tampa, Florida gathering of the country’s top Republican lawmakers will more than likely lead to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally receiving the party’s nod, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is expected to be the center of attention, at least momentarily, with his appearance at the event slated to be his last major engagement before retiring from Congress.

After decades on Capitol Hill, the congressman is walking away from the legislature after November’s election, assuming his resilient and relentless — yet unrecognized by the mainstream — followers cannot coax the GOP establishment into extending their nomination to Rep. Paul. With his appearance at the RNC thus expected to garner fanfare and attention from across the board, the Republican Party is now pondering the possibility of the congressman upstaging the presumptive nominee next month in Florida.

"If I were Romney, I'd prepare for the worst," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell warns Reuters. In their report, Reuters note that Paul’s chance at securing the GOP nod at this point are practically nonexistent, but by neither withdrawing from the race nor extending an endorsement to Gov. Romney, the congressman could very well cause the RNC to be turned on its end.

Earlier this week RT reported that the Ron Paul campaign and RNC organizers have put their differences aside and that the congressman will indeed follow through with plans to speak with supporters at a venue during next month’s convention. Now with a victory for the lawmaker in Washington on Wednesday after the House voted to pass his hallmark ‘Audit the Fed’ bill, Rep. Paul is riding high on a wave of support and could very well shake the establishment beyond their expectations at the RNC.

Joel Kurtinitis, Paul's former Iowa state director, tells Reuters, “Certainly we're not trying to start a fight or go embarrass folks at the convention." Kurtinitis adds that "We get a bad rap as rabble-rousers. That's not what we're about. We're trying to take our party back." But with support still mounting for Rep. Paul, an upset at the National Convention — or at least a lot of noise — isn’t being entirely ruled out.

“Gov. Romney has a lot of respect for Dr. Paul and the energy his supporters bring to the process," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul tells Reuters. "We look forward to broad participation at the Tampa convention and know the Paul enthusiasts will have their voices heard."

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak adds that that enthusiasm might make a huge difference when the smoke clears though.

"There's a question of how intense the non-Ron Paul delegates are going to be," he says. "Are they going to be there? Are they going to be voting?"

Speaking before a room of grassroots supports at Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University on Wednesday, Rep. Paul received a round of applause for a speech that encouraged his campaigners to continue fighting for liberty, even if it is unpopular with the establishment.

“Even under dictatorships, if the majority of the people reject the dictator, the dictator will eventually be overthrown,”

Rep. Paul told the crowd.

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