It seems that Ron Paul has found a new method of getting his way. The Hamas supporting libertarian candidate for the Republican Nomination who’s old job was publishing racist newsletters (see Ron Paul, NUT, BIGOT, or BOTH) has decided to try and lie his way to the convention. In the Minnesota congressional district conventions yesterday, Paul’s delegates filled out questionnaires promising that they were McCain Supporters… AFTER they were elected as national convention delegates they announced that the supported Paul:

Ron Paul backers ‘hijack’ delegates
Voting results disputed in Minnesota conventions

Andy Barnett
BLAINE, Minn. – Ron Paul supporters shook things up in at least three of Minnesota’s congressional district conventions yesterday when they captured nearly all of the national delegates and alternates for the Republican National Convention this fall.

There was controversy at Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District Convention. The district covers part of the Twin Cities metro area and extends to the west and into nearby St. Cloud, Minn. Paul supporters were accused of dirty tricks.

“They hijacked the convention,” said Jeff Johnson who serves as Minnesota’s Senate District 15 co-chairman.

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Two out of three national delegates elected were Ron Paul supporters and all three of the alternates supported Paul. After the election results were announced at the convention, they were immediately disputed when it was discovered that the candidates had agreed to support John McCain in pre-screening questions.

“I had people coming up to me saying that they wanted to ensure that Ron Paul has a chance to speak at the convention,” said Andy Aplikowsky, the vice chairman of the 6th District in Anoka County, “These people hid what their intentions were and that’s deceptive.”

Prior to the voting, candidates running to be national delegates were screened by a nominating committee and asked two questions.

“We asked them if they were Republican and then asked if they would support John McCain at the national convention” said Aplikowsky. “They had the option to answer yes, no, or maybe.”

The answers to these questions were then presented to the body of congressional delegates to take into consideration in the voting process. When it was discovered the elected national delegates were Paul supporters despite saying they would support McCain, the convention erupted in debateA motion was made to ensure the delegates supported McCain at the national convention.

“I moved that we bind the national delegates and alternates to what they told the nominating committee which is what was reported to the voters,” said Aplikowsky.

A heated debate lasting more than an hour followed the motion. Eventually, the motion passed by a slim margin, but not without harsh words and harsh exchanges.

The feeling among many of the congressional delegates who voted was that the Paul supporters had been dishonest. Ron Baert, one of the elected national delegates and a Ron Paul supporter disagreed.

“I don’t recall the exact wording of the question (about McCain), and so I wanted to clarify it,” he said. “So I said that the endorsement hasn’t even taken place yet, but that if McCain were endorsed I would support him, however I did not say I would vote to endorse him at the national convention.”

Could the wording of the pre-screening questions have been confusing? Aplikowsky who helped in the process didn’t think that was likely.

“There were 98 people who went through the questions and it was explained very thoroughly at the time the nominations report was given to the voters,” he said.

The 98 candidate names, and their answers to the pre-screening questions were displayed on an overhead projector as well as on a handout available to voters.

Some Paul supporters wanted to know why the pre-screening questions were asked in the first place, and Baert said he and other Paul backers felt intimidated. So what was the purpose of the questions?

“The intention was to identify people and who they were going to support,” said Aplikowski. “It wasn’t to keep out Ron Paul supporters but to present that information to the body of delegates to vote on, which is one of the purposes of the nominating committee.”

The RNC was contacted by phone while the debate was going on, and, according to party rules, the national delegates must endorse John McCain or their votes won’t count. That left some angry.

“If they intended to bind candidates to vote for the presumptive nominee (John McCain), they should’ve announced this at the beginning,” said Paul supporter Jim Sutton. “This convention has never bound delegates to a candidate before. It was a torpedo job against us!”

The Ron Paul Revolution also struck Minnesota’s 4th and 5th districts where Paul supporters swept the votes for national delegates and alternates. Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey said that the delegates’ decision to not unite behind McCain only hurts the Republican party.

Paul has remained in the presidential race despite the fact McCain has now earned enough delegates to become the Republican nominee for president.