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On the Trail / STAYIN' ALIVE

Still plenty of fire in the Paul camp

May 02, 2008|Maeve Reston

As far as John McCain is concerned, the Republican presidential nomination is a done deal and the party is united behind him. But thousands of Republicans -- particularly supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul -- aren't buying that.

In the Pennsylvania primary, more than 215,000 Republicans cast ballots for Paul or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who together captured 27% of the vote.

And that was tame compared with the uproar last weekend at Nevada's Republican Party Convention.

About 600 well-organized Paul supporters overwhelmed McCain's forces and engineered a rule change that permitted national convention delegates to be nominated from the floor, wresting the task from party leaders.

That evening, party leaders unexpectedly adjourned the session, saying the proceedings would take too long to finish that night.

But tongues were set wagging about whether the adjournment was a maneuver to save McCain from the embarrassment of being swamped by Paul delegates.

Eric Herzik, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the fracas reflected, among other things, that McCain had "yet to capture the hearts and minds of Nevada Republicans."

All of which suggests there might be some drama at the GOP's national convention in September after all.

-- Maeve Reston

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