GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul (left), walking past presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, has plans to hold his own convention in Minnesota.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Representative Ron Paul,the Republican presidential candidate, will be the main attraction at the Twin Cities confab. No, not the Republican National Convention fewer than eight miles away at the XCel Center, but at his own party, to be held on the second day of the event that will seal Senator John McCain as the GOP nominee.
"This isn't a protest," said Jesse Benton, the libertarian-leaning Republican's spokesman. "This is a celebration of limited government and Republican principles."
Mr. Paul, of Texas, racked up record-breaking amounts of money and passionate Internet support during his bid for the Republican nomination. He refused to officially quit the race even after Mr. McCain amassed enough delegates to claim the nomination, and he continued to garner around a quarter of the votes in late primaries. About 50 people will attend the convention as delegates pledged to Mr. Paul.
But Mr. Paul is unlikely to have a platform at the main event, Mr. Benton said. "We haven't officially been turned down, but we don't expect a speaking spot to open up," he said, adding that Mr. Paul would certainly speak if asked.
But the fact that Mr. Paul is "unlikely" to endorse Mr. McCain could cause conflict.
"The thing that we want to stress is that this is about being respectful and positive," Mr. Benton said. Still, the separate convention is intended to send the G.O.P. a message about the level of support for Mr. Paul's ideas, and "to completely discount that there might be a little bit of anecdotal evidence that there's going to be friction, that would be naïve."
A contract has been drawn up for the Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Sept. 2. The venue could hold more than 14,000 people for the Paul campaign's all-day event. Mr. Paul plans to formally announce his convention on Thursday in Houston, at an event coinciding with the Texas G.O.P. convention there. Mr. Benton said, in addition to Mr. Paul, of course, the campaign is looking to book "several high-profile" performers and speakers.
John Mayer, perhaps?