Ron Paul Supporters, GOP Continue to Bicker

Paul forces face off with establishment Republicans over state delegates.

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The infighting is getting worse between supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul and some state leaders of the Republican Party as the GOP national convention approaches.

The latest developments include the decision by establishment Republicans in Maine to challenge the roster of Paul delegates from that state. The Republicans filed a challenge last weekend with the Republican National Committee, arguing that Paul forces used unauthorized procedures and broke party rules at the state convention when they captured more delegates than presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

Paul forces are also embroiled in a fight with establishment Republicans over who is entitled to the most delegates from Louisiana and Massachusetts. Paul lost badly in the Louisiana state primary but his supporters dominated the subsequent GOP district and state conventions; they argue that they should have the most delegates to the national convention. The Paul forces have challenged party leaders from Louisiana who are disputing their delegate count.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

Paul supporters are also challenging the state party in Massachusetts, Romney's home state, for disqualifying them as delegates after doubts arose about whether they would support Romney at the national convention in Tampa.

The party's contest committee is expected to rule on these cases in the next few weeks. Then the credentials committee is likely to consider them. It's also possible that the cases could be taken to the floor of the convention, which starts August 27.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

If the challenges aren't resolved smoothly, there could be bitter fights over how many delegates actually vote for Romney as their presidential nominee on the first ballot, and the hard feelings could intensify battles over the party platform.

All this could make it more difficult for the GOP and the Romney campaign to present a harmonious image at the convention and to enter the final sprint to the lection in a unified position.

Paul, a GOP congressman from Texas, remains in the Republican presidential race and has declined to endorse Romney. 

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column in the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.colm and on Facebook and Twitter.

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