Ron Paul Threatens to Disrupt WA GOP Caucus
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SEATTLE (AP) — Ron Paul’s presidential campaign on Wednesday threatened to fight the seating of some Washington delegates to the Republican National Convention, saying there is a lack of transparency in how party officials from the state’s largest county are chosen.
Paul’s claim came three days before Washington’s Republican caucuses on Saturday.
Kirby Wilbur, the state GOP Party chairman, said Paul’s accusations are “baseless.” A lawyer for Paul’s campaign sent a letter to Wilbur and Lori Sotelo, head of the King County Republican Party. The Paul campaign said the King County GOP violated party rules by not revealing the names of certain party officials, known as precinct committee officers, who will take part in the caucuses.
“Their concern is that they appointed all these last-minute, anti-Ron Paul PCOs, but there’s no proof,” Wilbur told The Associated Press.
In the letter to Wilbur and Sotelo, Paul’s campaign said precinct committee delegates who are automatic delegates to the state convention must have been appointed by Dec. 14, 2011. Paul’s campaign has asked for a list of these officials. Wilbur said Sotelo will make them available to the Paul campaign, as well as to the other GOP presidential campaigns, on Friday. Other counties in the state have already given their lists of officials to the Paul campaign, Wilbur said.
The Paul campaign said it will contact the King County party officials in question, and if it determines they were offered the jobs after Dec. 14 it will fight to keep them from taking part in the state caucuses, as well as the national convention.
Wilbur said state party lawyers have assured him that King County Republicans have done nothing wrong. He said the Dec. 14, cutoff is there to prevent county party chairmen from “stacking the deck” for individual candidates.
“When they examine the record, they’ll find that they haven’t done that,” Wilbur said. “What she did was legal.”
Washington has 43 delegates. But the caucus vote is done as a straw poll and does not allocate the 40 delegates that will be elected in June. Delegates chosen at the precinct level will go to county conventions, which will be used to choose delegates for the state convention. Only once delegates are elected at the end of the convention, on June 2, will they be officially allocated to candidates.
– Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. Associated Press writer Rachel La Corte contributed to this report.