Minnesota delegates cast ballots for Paul, lose fight over rule changes

Many of Minnesota's delegates to the Republican National Convention relished their chance to support the libertarian campaign of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. But in many cases that satisfaction was tempered by frustration with the Mitt Romney supporters who organized the convention. From rule changes that went against them to a ban on Ron Paul signs, some of the delegates considered the event an Infomercial that stepped on the grass roots.
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33 of Minnesota's 40 delegates to the Republican National Convention voted for Texas Congressman Ron Paul to be the party's presidential nominee. After a long road to Tampa, some said they relished the opportunity to cast those votes. Their experience in Cigar City was not exactly a love-in, though.

A rules fight with Mitt Romney supporters ended with House Speaker John Boehner ignoring the complaints of Minnesotans and other critics of a change that will make support for alternative candidates even less likely at future conventions.

The Paul supporters' chants of "shame on you" made for one of the few unscripted moments at an event one Minnesota delegate said amounted to an infomercial. Paul supporters say they're trying to move past their frustration and use the convention as a chance to plant seeds of change within the party. The faction that calls themselves Liberty Republicans insists it's not going away and will keep spreading its message.

In the near term, fellow Republicans are asking them to jump onto Mitt Romney's train. But some of the Minnesotans are not jumping at the chance.

While the Paul faction squabbled with the mainstream Romney supporters, a significant third force was watching. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told CNN she backed the critics of the rule change, calling grass roots activists the backbone of the party. Like the Liberty Republicans, Bachmann's Tea Party contingent has concerns about getting a fair shake from the establishment Republicans who are controlling the convention.

The convention continues Wednesday, when former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will speak in advance of a keynote address from vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

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