Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul is gaining ground in his uphill battle to make his voice heard at the Republican National Convention despite being written off by the Party establishment.
Last weekend in Nevada and in Maine, Paul’s ardent supporters were able to secure delegate blocs increasing the likelihood of a brokered Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., or at very least the ability to assert influence over the Party platform.
Despite Mitt Romney taking 50 percent of the vote in the February Nevada caucus, Paul was able to secure 22 of the 25 delegates up for grabs.
“The Paul folks couldn’t get their people turned out for the caucus,” veteran Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston told The Washington Post. “But they outmaneuvered the Nevada Romney people ever since and dominated the county conventions and this is the inevitable result. The question remains: To what end?”
In Maine at least 21 of 24 delegates vowed support for Paul over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.
Maine is the sixth State to elect a majority of Paul backers to the national convention, assuring the libertarian-leaning congressman a prime-time podium at the Tampa gathering.
Romney currently has 856 delegates, 288 short of the 1,144 needed for the nomination to Paul’s 94, according to an Associated Press count.
Upcoming primaries on Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia will paint a better picture of where Paul’s supporters can take him from here. Political analysts like those at Smart Politics say if the establishment-favored Romney is unable to secure more than two-thirds of the vote Tuesday, Paul will wield some serious power over the GOP.
Paul’s campaign manager, John Tate, said of recent campaign successes, “Taken together, these victories and those yet to happen forecast a prominent role for Ron Paul at the (Republican National Convention). They also signal that the convention will feature a spirited discussion over whether conservatism will triumph over the status quo.”
The Republican establishment has repeatedly cried foul over the Paul camp’s use of the Party’s own election rules against the status quo. They have accused Paul and his supporters of “trying to take over the Republican Party.”
But Paul would likely remind his detractors: He is only trying to save the Republican Party from itself and bring it back to its conservative roots. As the Party establishment scrambles to back Romney—a candidate who has repeatedly been on the same side of many issues as Barack Obama—it looks like Paul still has a great deal of work to do.