Kokomo — Republican Party organizations across Indiana are filing challenges to keep Ron Paul delegates from taking over the party’s state convention in June.
The Howard County Republican Party is challenging six people who filed to become delegates at the state convention because they have not received a waiver to appear on the May 8 primary ballot.
The six people are part of a national strategy put in place by the presidential campaign of Ron Paul. The campaign’s goal is to get people elected as delegates to state conventions and then gain control of votes at the national convention, all in the interest of moving Paul to the head of the field of GOP candidates.
“We challenged six people who didn’t comply with the rules,” said Craig Dunn, Howard County GOP chairman.
According to Dunn, the individuals did not have the appropriate paperwork, which includes a waiver, and also have not voted in the Republican Party primary.
“They have never voted,” he said. “They didn’t file with their declaration of candidacy, the waiver form that must be signed by the chairman.”
During a meeting of the Howard County Election Board on Thursday, the six challenged candidates argued Indiana law presumes a party affiliation at the time the candidacy papers are filed, not in a primary election.
Dunn said state law clearly shows there is a difference between running for an elective and party office.
“State law defaults to party rules,” he said. “They have never voted in a Republican Party primary.”
The Howard County Election Board is expected to make a decision this week.
Brett Curnutt, Tipton County GOP chairman, filed four challenges. He said two people didn’t receive a necessary waiver and one voted in the last Democrat Party primary.
“I’m confident these are Ron Paul people,” Curnutt, “they were four years ago. I’m not sure what their motive are. I expect there is some plan, there was four years ago.”
Curnutt said there is some ploy to make Paul look better at the national convention in June than he does in February.
Pete Seat, communications director for the Indiana Republican Party, said information on the Daily Paul website discusses convention delegates. He said there have been challenges around the state.
“Some of the challenges are based on party rules and procedures,” he said.
Dunn said the state convention is important because it sets party rules and selects candidates for statewide office. In 2012 the convention delegates will select a lieutenant governor candidate.
“Officially I don’t know anything about these people,” he said.
After a check of the Ron Paul campaign website, the convention delegate strategy was used in 2008 and the plan is to use it again in 2012 in an attempt to capture the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Each county is charged a fee by the state party for each delegate at the state convention, which each delegate is expected to pay. Both Dunn and Curnutt said in 2008 Paul delegates didn’t pay the fee, which cost the local party organization money.
“Four years ago I didn’t challenge any delegates,” Dunn said.
• Ken de la Bastide is the Kokomo Tribune enterprise editor. He can be reached at 765-454-8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@ kokomotribune.com