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Ron Paul backers make GOP's lives more complicated

<p>If 90% of life is just showing up, Ron Paul supporters have discovered the secret of success at state Republican Party gatherings.Last week, the
Why is this man smiling?
Why is this man smiling?

If 90% of life is just showing up, Ron Paul supporters have discovered the secret of success at state Republican Party gatherings.

Last week, the Republican National Committee issued a stern warning to the state party in Nevada: if you allow Paul backers to take many slots for the national convention, the party might just refuse to seat the state's entire delegation as punishment.

How'd that work out? Based on previous vote totals, Nevada Republicans were supposed to give Mitt Romney 20 of the state's 28 delegates. That's not what happened.

Despite former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's overwhelming victory in the Nevada caucuses, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has won a majority of the state's delegates to the party's national convention later this year in Tampa, Florida.Thanks to organized Paul supporters, who have been working to increase their candidate's support at state conventions around the country, 22 of the 25 Nevada delegates up for grabs will be Paul supporters. (Another three are automatic delegates.) [...]"The Paul folks couldn't get their people turned out for the caucus," said veteran Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston. "But they outmaneuvered the Nevada Romney people ever since and dominated the county conventions and this is the inevitable result. The question remains: To what end?"

The answer to that question is far from clear. Paul supporters hoping for a brokered convention are fooling themselves, but their success at state party conventions will likely give the strange Texas congressman a stronger voice at the Tampa gathering.

Indeed, Nevada isn't the only one. Paul backers "commandeered the Maine Republican Party convention" over the weekend, too, winning all 15 of the at-large delegates.

Adding insult to injury, in Massachusetts, less than half of Romney's 27 chosen delegates won. One of the losers was Kerry Healey, Romney's former lieutenant governor, who was thought to be a lock for the national convention.

When it came to day-to-day campaign logistics, Team Romney was infinitely better organized than Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, but when it comes to getting supporters to show up at state conventions, even in Massachusetts, Romney's campaign looks awfully weak compared to Ron Paul.