Ron Paul Set to Win Oklahoma, But Romney Looks to Fight Back Against Paul Supporters
After Ron Paul's campaign captured an estimated 60% of Oklahoma's available delegates at the congressional level, Mitt Romney's campaign started to realize they had a problem on their hands in the Sooner State. It was apparently a problem they didn't feel they could handle.
Romney's campaign has convinced a former member of the Santorum campaign team to round up Santorum supporters for Mitt Romney and to make sure they attend this weekend's state convention, a task Romney's campaign has so far not been very good at.
David Van Risseghem, Rick Santorum's Oklahoma state coordinator, sent out an e-mail May 9 to Oklahoma Republicans attempting to get them to turnout in opposition to Ron Paul and therefore presumably for Mitt Romney, the only other candidate in the race. The note was apparently sent from an e-mail address owned by the suspended Santorum campaign.
The vitriolic note from the Santorum campaign stated, "It's time for all values voters to work together to keep our communities safe for the next generation. Several Ron Paul activists want to legalize recreational drug use, decimate obscenity laws, and sanction prostitution."
These ideas seem to be an attempt to slander Ron Paul, as these viewpoints do not seem to appear anywhere on his campaign platform, nor do issues of state law seem to be an issue that a federal congressman deals with. Having taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, Paul does not believe he has constitutional authority to do anything not mentioned in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Paul certainly has no authority to override state laws.
In the note, Santorum's campaign theorized that this weekend's Oklahoma Republican convention might get nasty: "There will assuredly be a passionate struggle for control of the convention, the national delegation, and the party's future."
Taken in its entirety the note seems to be a call to action to Santorum supporters, asking them to attend the convention in opposition to Ron Paul and in support of the man trying to stop him from winning the nomination: Mitt Romney.
This is an interesting move by Santorum's campaign since Santorum's camp supports military veterans and Paul is the only veteran in the race. Santorum supporters are pro-life and Paul is pro-life. Santorum supporters are opposed to the debt and Paul is the only candidate to propose a solution to the debt that will eliminate the federal budget deficit within the next generation (in fact, it will do so within 3 years). Santorum supporters like limited government and Paul is very strong (especially when compared to Romney) on the issue of limited government. Santorum supporters don't support the Wall Street bailouts, while Romney did. Paul, in fact, has never supported a bailout or a tax increase. The Santorum campaign has oddly sided with the highest bidder as opposed to the more principled candidate.
The note from Santorum's campaign is again another sign of a struggling Romney campaign in the face of Paul surging. It now looks like Paul may win as many as 12 states and may even have ardent Paul loyalists outnumbering Romney loyalists at the Republican National Convention – the highest legislative body of the Republican Party.
Mitt Romney believed and the media has reported that after Santorum left the race the rest of the nomination process would be easy for Romney. To the contrary, it's become evident to many watching that he is unfit as a leader in the GOP as he can't inspire convention goers – the most dedicated of Republicans – and he has so far failed at uniting the party.
A Romney nomination spells defeat for the Republicans, as it will no doubt leave Paul's supporters feeling alienated, perhaps even searching for a candidate outside of the GOP.
Romney, the presumed front runner, instead of working to bring some 15%-30% of the Republican Party into the fold is spending his April and May alienating these Ron Paul supporters with rumors, dirty tricks, and ugly Chicago-style tactics.
One would wonder if the only way the Republican Party will have a better summer would be for Romney to just drop out.
In the note, the Santorum campaign acknowledged the media blackout of Ron Paul's delegate success stating: "This Saturday, in Norman, Oklahoma, Ron Paul's people intend to complete their grand design and add Oklahoma to the growing list of state delegations they already control. The national media is largely ignoring the recent developments in many state and district conventions."