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Dispute Over Maine GOP Convention Delegates Lands in Court
08/17/2012   Reported By: Tom Porter

Maine supporters of Republican Ron Paul's presidential bid are asking a judge to make sure they'll be seated as delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., later this month. Stavros Mendros, Matthew MacDonald and Brent Tweed are among the 21 Paul supporters elected as delegates to the Maine GOP convention three months ago. And today they asked a Waldo County Superior Court judge to issue an injunction against an ongoing GOP investigation that could prevent them from being seated at the national convention.

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Dispute Over Maine GOP Convention Delegates Lands Listen
 Duration:
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Maine supporters of Republican Ron Paul's presidential bid are asking a judge to make sure they'll be seated as delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., later this month. Stavros Mendros, Matthew MacDonald and Brent Tweed are among the 21 Paul supporters elected as delegates to the Maine GOP convention three months ago. And today they asked a Waldo County Superior Court judge to issue an injunction against an ongoing GOP investigation that could prevent them from being seated at the national convention.

Stavros Mendros was elected vice-chairman of the GOP delegation to Tampa at May's state convention. "We've requested the court to basically end this battle that's going on," he says. "It's causing a rift in the Republican Party in Maine completely unnecessarily."

The Republican establishment is not happy with how Paul's Maine delegates were elected. Late last month two members of the state's GOP hierarchy lodged a formal challenge, describing the election process as "illegal." The complaint cites widespread credentialing irregularities and lax security.

But one week after the complaint was lodged with the RNC committee, Mendros does not believe there are sufficient grounds for it to proceed.

"The complaint was made, it was heard last Friday. There was not enough evidence there to rule against us, and they've gone and asked for more evidence, more information." Mendros says. "And from my understanding that's not what's allowed. You have to present your case, and you either have to have the facts in your favor, and win--or you lose."

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Cragin is a Mitt Romney supporter who runs a political consultancy in Augusta. He lost his bid to become chair of the GOP at the state convention this spring when Paul supporters elected Brent Tweed instead.

While Cragin admits he's not familiar with the details of the complaint, he says he was not happy with how the state convention was carried out. "I was very concerned about the process of the convention. I don't think it was conducted appropriately. I think there were a lot of ballot insecurity issues and things of that nature."

The complaint is asking the RNC committee to unseat Maine's Ron Paul delegates when they arrive in Tampa. Cragin says he wouldn't like to see this happen as it would mean the state having no representation at the national convention.

I'd feel terrible as a Mainer if the state isn't even represnted there," he says. "I'd hope, though, that the folks that go as delegates to the national convention understand that when the nominee is selected, that they come with a united party and support the nominee."

The complaint against Ron Paul's Maine delegates was filed by Maine Republican National Committeewoman Jan Staples, and Peter Cianchette, former gubernatorial candidate and U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica. Neither of them could be reached for comment for this story.

The Republican National Convention in Tampa gets underway Aug. 27.



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