Ron Paul is set to speak at the Minnesota Republican convention Friday, and party activists in the Fifth District are preparing for a possible Paul win—with one local activist saying “I get the feeling I’m witnessing history.”
Paul is poised to make a strong showing in Minnesota after congressional-district conventions gave him 20 of 24 available national delegates. The Texas congressman was denied a speaking slot at the 2008 state convention, but has proven a popular candidate and speaker here since—turning fans away, for example, from an over-capacity speech in Arden Hills shortly before Minnesota’s 2012 caucus night.
On Monday, Paul announced his campaign would stop spending money in states that haven’t yet held primaries or caucuses (see video). But that didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm and sense of anticipation of Paul’s Fifth District fans.
Update (9:30 a.m. Tuesday): Adam J. Weigold, chair of the Fifth Congressional District MNGOP, said by email Tuesday Paul has a supermajority of support from the district:
“At the CD5 convention Paul had support from between 90-125 of the 150 delegates. The state convention delegates are elected separately, but by the same groups that elect to the CD5 convention. It’s safe to assume that a super-majority of them from CD5 are Paul supporters. All three delegates and all three alternates elected from CD5 to the national convention are Paul supporters.”
Weigold said he sees Paul’s appearance as a chance for Minnesota Republicans to show off their big-tent approach:
“Over the last 4 years the Minnesota Republican party has slowly been thawing to the realization that a large influx of people are willing to join the ranks of the Republican Party if it returns to it’s base principals that Dr. Paul stands for. Giving Ron Paul the stage during the convention is a big step in the direction of allowing the party to grow. I sincerely hope the MNGOP leadership continue to advance the party in the direction of being a party of addition and not subtraction, a party of inclusion not rejection, a party that stands for something instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator. We have welcomed Ron Paul’s supporters with openness and transparency in the Fifth district, and I hope delegates from across the state do the same this weekend in St. Cloud.
Fifth District Standard-bearer
Chris Fields, the Republican endorsee to challenge U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) in the Fifth District, said by email Monday he is looking forward to Paul’s appearance:
“It’s exciting to have a high profile guest at our convention this week. I’m glad that the Congressman will be bringing attention to Minnesota, which has a vibrant political community. A number of the Congressman’s supporters are also supporters of mine, and I’m sure that those attending the convention will be excited to see a presidential candidate swinging by our great state.”
Fields’ rival for the party endorsement, Lynne Torgerson, said afterwards that the Fifth District convention had been “overrun by Ron Paul libertarians.” (She then dropped out of the race.) Torgerson, reached by phone Monday as she returned to the Twin Cities from Marshall, MN, said she was leaving for a trip to Israel and wouldn’t be attending the convention, although she may keep tabs on the action via the Internet.