The convention floor erupted into cheers when Ron Paul made his entrance this afternoon for what he told reporters was just a “visit to some friends in the Nevada delegation.”Paul’s visit was a rare foray onto Mitt Romney’s turf, after weeks of shunning the limelight. Apart from a lengthy rally at the Sun Dome on Sunday, Paul has been absent from the political spotlight since May, and his team has largely deferred to the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee in the lead-up to the convention.
This perceived concession has been a source of much consternation for Paul’s legions of supporters. In the Ron Paul netsroots universe, supporters have engaged in long message board threads attacking Rand Paul for endorsing Romney and accusing Ron Paul campaign chair Jesse Benton — basically the Scooter to Paul’s Justin Bieber — for turning on Paul’s grassroots to benefit their own personal careers.
Over the weekend, I traveled to Tampa with a group of these supporters in one of the “Ronvoy” caravans organised by some of Paul’s most ardent grassroots supporters. When I asked how they felt about how the Paul campaign ended, and about his campaign team, the van of Paulistas were circumspect.
“I have to hear what Ron says,” said Justin Hydro, a 28-year-old Pennsylvanian who got turned on to Paul’s message in 2010. “I’m waiting to see what happens this week—we’ll know a lot more after the convention.”
After Paul’s speech Sunday, his supporters are now looking to see what happens on the floor of the convention today.
Paul has approximately 100 delegates here, and they are looking to mount several challenges, including one that would seat Paul’s Maine delegates, and one that would challenge several decisions of the Rules Committee. There will be no convention-floor rules fight, however, as a rules compromise passed by a 78-14 vote.
Paul’s supporters cannot succeed alone. To seat the Maine delegation, for example, the Paulites need the support of one-third of the delegates — an uphill battle that would be difficult even under the best of circumstances.
And the Paul campaign’s hands-off approach to the convention makes that challenge even steeper, according to a source close to the Paul camp.
“I don’t think it looks good,” the source told Business Insider. “But there is no leadership—there’s no one to help them get the votes.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.