AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Republican National Committee on Thursday accepted a recommendation calling Ron Paul delegates from Maine to give up half of their 20 convention delegates to Mitt Romney supporters, but the Paul forces continued to insist that all of the delegates are theirs.
A recommendation of the Contests Committee to split the Paul delegates from Maine 10-10 went to the party's national committee Thursday for a vote. Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster said the committee decided to accept the recommendation, leaving the Ron Paul delegates with prospects of accepting it or appealing the vote to the Credentials Committee.
Paul supporters continued Thursday to insist they will not accept a compromise. Matt McDonald of Belfast, a GOP delegate who backs Paul, said the Paul supporters would make a case before the Credentials Committee that they were properly elected, despite claims by mainstream Republicans that party and parliamentary rules were violated in their election.
"We're still the sitting delegates," said McDonald, adding that the 10-10 compromise idea "is still just a recommendation."
The Credentials Committee was expected to take up the Maine delegate matter Friday. McDonald said that even if the Paul supporters lose before the committee, they still can take their case back to the RNC.
The number of Maine delegates supporting Paul will have no bearing on the nomination of Mitt Romney for president, because the former Massachusetts governor has more delegates than needed to win the nomination. Paul forces in Maine and several other states where the Texas congressman captured a majority of delegates want to assure him a chance to get a prime-time speaking slot at the convention, which runs Monday through Thursday in Tampa, Fla.
The convention website says it will host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates. Maine has 24 delegates. In addition to the 20 still in play, three support Romney, and Webster, who has sought to broker a deal between the two factions, remains uncommitted. Webster said the Paul supporters gambled by not accepting a compromise and lost.
"They rolled the dice and the Contests Committee ruled this was the worst case in the country where the rules were violated," Webster said.