LePage to skip GOP convention

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage said Friday that he will not attend the Republican National Convention, highlighting a deep rift within the state GOP that party members say will not heal after next week's unity gathering in Florida.

Paul LePage
Pat Wellenbach

Paul LePage 

LePage issued a statement saying that instead of attending the Monday-Thursday convention, he'll focus on state business and spending time with his family.

The governor's decision came as the Republican National Convention's credentials committee determined that the election of 20 delegates supporting the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul violated party and parliamentary rules. In doing so, the committee assigned 10 of the delegates to mainstream state GOP members who challenged the Paul delegates' election and support presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

On Friday, LePage followed through on his promise this month not to attend the Tampa gathering unless the delegation elected during a raucous state convention in May is seated.

"I made it clear, when the challenge was issued, that I felt the Maine delegates selected at the Maine Convention should be seated in Tampa," LePage said in his statement. "It is unfortunate that not all of these delegates will be seated.

"I am hopeful that we can put this behind us and focus on the real issues affecting our nation. Our nation's economy is struggling to recover and Governor Romney has put forward an agenda that will help us turn it around," LePage concluded.

But a deep division within the Maine GOP left by the delegate fight won't heal anytime soon, party activists said.

"I actually see an exodus of people leaving the party," said Matt McDonald, a Paul supporter who was elected as a delegate. Many, he predicted, will join the Libertarian Party.

While LePage has indicated his support for Romney, McDonald commended the governor as "a man of his word" for deciding to stay home. McDonald plans to leave for Tampa on Sunday so he can appeal his and other delegates' exclusion before the full Republican National Committee.

Erin Daly, a Paul delegate who paid her own way to travel from Maine to Tampa only to be purged, was tearful as she left the credentials committee room. But she had no plans to pack up and leave. "Of course I'm going to stick around," she said. "I owe it to my state."

Jan Staples, a national committeewoman from Maine who joined GOP activist Peter Cianchette in challenging the Paul delegates' election, commended the credentials committee for making what she sees as a fair decision.

And while Staples doesn't think the Maine delegate tussle will have an impact on the national convention, she believes it will have a profound impact on the Maine Republican Party.

"Do I think it's going to be a lasting problem back home? I do," said Staples, whose term as national committeewoman ends when the convention is over.

She predicted that Paul supporters will continue seeking party control by winning elections to local and county GOP posts and fears they will do so without strict adherence to party rules. Staples believes the Paul loyalists are out to restructure of the state Republican Party in preparation for a 2016 presidential run by Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Rand Paul is to give a prime-time convention speech next week.

Associated Press writer Brian Bakst in Tampa contributed to this report.

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Thomas Maher's picture

Why complain?

Where were you when the Republicans and the supreme court appointed Bush?

Thomas Maher's picture

Why complain?

Where were you when the Republicans and the supreme court appointed Bush?

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Bad call by the RNC...

I was at the Maine Republican State Convention as an official delegate and it was conducted, from my observation, the same as every year just with a LOT more people than I have EVER seen; it was unfair of the RNC not to seat half of OUR Maine delegates. Call them "Ron Paul" people if you like, but they were duly elected Republican delegates from Maine. Now we will have ten "appointed" "hand picked" representatives; this is truly a shame. I am sure the elected delegates spent a ton of money up front on airline tickets, hotel rooms, time off from work etc. Plus they worked their tails off to win those delegate seats. I applaud Governor LePage and stand with him for his decision in this matter. It sends a clear message to the RNC that this was not the right thing to do! Our Governor is a man of courage and principle, I've knew this from the day he announced and this action confirms my belief in him once again. That said, I am a Mitt Romney supporter, and will vote for him in November. I don't hold the misguided actions of a few here in Maine against him.

Thomas Maher's picture

Utter shock

I can not believe that LePage actually got something right. He ignores the Maine voters who voted for bonds, federal law, but one time in his life stands up for an honestly elected group.
Mark it on your calendar folks, this was his one time getting it right.

Thomas Maher's picture

Utter shock

I can not believe that LePage actually got something right. He ignores the Maine voters who voted for bonds, federal law, but one time in his life stands up for an honestly elected group.
Mark it on your calendar folks, this was his one time getting it right.

Edward S Phillips 's picture

Thank God Staples will be gone.

One of many who need to be gone. RINO all the way. I left the Maine GOP when this happened. She does not care about handing the state back to the Demos as long as she can pretend to be a big wig.


Credibility gap?

It's going to be interesting to hear the governor stumping for Romney this fall when he can't even be bothered to go to the convention to vote for him and cheer his victory. For that matter, I wonder about his support for Summers who is in the non-Paul camp. Apparently the compromise worked out is that Ron Paul's son will speak at the convention. I believe that was the purpose of his run to begin with; to give his son's political career a leg up for the next election.

Mark Elliott's picture

Paul LePage is a Romney

Paul LePage is a Romney supporter but he does not like the games the RNC is playing to get Mitt the win.......LePage wants his candidate to win but win fair and square.........the message LePage is sending by staying home is far more important than the one vote he'll cast in Tampa. He should be commended for doing this, by republicans, democrats, and independents alike.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I just don't get it.....

I try very hard not to support anyone, relying instead to learn as much as I can about everyone involved. I must have missed something, I'll be the first to admit, I'm no political expert, just curious. My question is this. Even if they allow all the "Paul" delegates sit at this convention, and give Ron Paul two full hours to speak. What is the point? What possible difference could it make? With all the real issues that need to be addressed by both sides, why are these people wanting to waste valuable time? I just don't get it, then again when it comes to politics, there's a lot I don't get......

Jeanne Boelsma's picture

He only wanted 15 minutes

Ron Paul only wanted 15 minutes to speak to the delegation and bring his case for the Republicans returning to their constitutional and platform roots of personal freedom and fiscal responsibility. Dr. Paul hoped to influence the Republican platform in a positive way and let people know that if they want to win against Obama, then they have to be different than Obama. He has a strong following across this country and across all age groups, and these people deserve to have a voice too. The RNC has effectively cut off any possible support from these Republicans by not allowing Paul delegates into the convention and not allowing Dr. Paul to speak. If Romney loses, it will be the fault of the RNC, not Ron Paul.

Mark Elliott's picture

Issues aside, the Republican

Issues aside, the Republican party still needs to choose the candidate....that is why he should speak. So the delegates can hear what he has to say.

Jeanne Boelsma's picture

Good for LePage

I congratulate Governor LePage for standing his ground and not taking part in the RNC pseudo-convention. The RNC has bent over backwards to discredit Paul supporters and ensure that he will not have a part at the convention. They have changed rules after the fact and challenged legally and ethically elected delegates and taken their seats away from them. I bet the Obama camp loves the RNC now! The liberty movement will not stop because of the RNC, it will only get stronger. Watch out RNC in 2016!

Steve  Dosh's picture

all , 12.08.24 10:36 am -

all , 12.08.24 10:36 am - ish HST ? 
^^ predecessor to the GOP ^^


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