Thursday, September 18, 2008

After encouraging Oklahoma delegates to support Sen. McCain, 2 of 6 Huckabee Delegates (released) cast votes for Ron Paul (a microphone miscue ensued)

Oklahoma's Ron Paul supporters upset by roll call; said they won't sit with delegation tonight


Thu September 4, 2008

By Michael McNutt
Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL, MINN. – Ron Paul supporters in Oklahoman’s Republican National Convention delegation remain disappointed today because no one heard the U.S. House member from Texas receive two of Oklahoma’s votes.

The microphone was cut off Wednesday night before U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, could announce the Oklahoma delegation’s vote.

All but two of Oklahoma’s 41 delegates voted for Republican Party nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain. Delegates Paul Clayton of McAlester and Robert Demarest of Talihina voted for Paul, who had sought the GOP presidential nomination.

Oklahoma’s vote was announced in the Xcel Energy Center as all 41 votes going to McCain. Inhofe tried to get the attention of convention organizers so he could correct the mistake and announce the correct tally.

Convention workers eventually said that couldn’t be done, possibly because the convention was running late. It was about 11 p.m. when it was Oklahoma’s turn to announce its vote in the second round. Several states including Oklahoma abstained on the first round so that McCain’s home state of Arizona could announce the vote that would allow him to receive the nomination. Then the roll call resumed with the states that had abstained going in alphabetical order.

Convention officials assured Oklahoma’s delegation that the official convention record would show McCain getting 39 votes and Paul getting two.

"In our eyes that will be very little," Demarest said today from the Minneapolis hotel where Oklahoma's delegates are staying. People who watch a video of the convention will Oklahoma’s tally announced as all 41 votes going to McCain.

Frustrated, Demarest and his wife, Cheryl, ripped the Oklahoma patches off their blue blazers – part of the Oklahoma GOP’s uniform - and said they were done with Oklahoma’s Republican delegation. They said they will not sit with the Oklahoma delegates during tonight’s convention.

Demarest said today he and his wife plan to walk around the convention and talk with other delegates.

The Demarests, Clayton and several other Paul supporters met with Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones Wednesday night after they returned to their hotel for an hour or so, and then the Paul supporters discussed the incident until about 4 this morning.

Paul didn’t receive any delegates during Oklahoma’s presidential primary in February, but he picked up the two delegate votes when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won six votes, released his delegates. The other four Huckabee delegates joined with the 32 delegates won by McCain. Three state party officials who are delegates supported McCain as well.

"I’m disappointed," Demarest said.

Demarest and other Paul supporters talked with Inhofe, and they said Inhofe isn’t to blame. Their disappointment is directed toward convention officials.

"It may have been an innocent mistake," Demarest said. "But to go through the time and expense just to lose what we deserve is quite disappointing, as well as the fact that we have to go home and explain it to the people who supported us."

UPDATE: Here's video of the microphone miscue.

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