Maine’s Ron Paul delegates join effort to stop proposed party rule changes

When the storm-delayed Republican National Convention reopens Tuesday to take up approval of the official party rules, expect Ron Paul-supporting members of Maine’s delegation to object to a slate of party rule changes approved late last week by the convention’s rules committee and pushed by Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The proposed changes include measures that would bind convention delegates to vote for the candidate who won their state’s presidential preference poll — either primary election or caucus — and expand the power of the Republican National Committee to make changes to the party rule’s between conventions.

“It’s devastating to the party,” said Ashley Ryan, who represented Maine Republicans on the rules committee. “It takes the party from being a grassroots organization to being a top-down organization.”

Ryan said she’ll take part in an effort by delegates who support Texas Congressman Ron Paul to stop those rules changes from the convention floor when they come up for a full convention vote.

It’s currently up to each state Republican party to determine whether the state’s convention delegates are required to vote for the winner of the presidential preference contest. Maine’s Republican party rules have no such requirement.

“It really just puts the entire convention in the hands of political campaigns instead of the hands of the people,” said Ryan, who was elected Maine’s Republican National Committeewoman at the state party’s spring convention. Ryan, 21, will assume that post after this week’s convention wraps up.

And current party rules largely bar major amendments to the party’s rules document between party conventions every four years.

The procedural section of the convention schedule will be busy for Maine’s delegation. The Ron Paul supporters who remain after the Republican National Committee appointed a new slate of delegates say they’re planning an appeal from the floor to seat the original delegation chosen at the state party’s spring convention.