Ron Paul’s bid for the presidency has all but officially ended, with supporters failing to rally a plurality of Nebraska’s Republican delegates in a last-ditch effort to ensure that Paul would be nominated as the party’s candidate at the GOP convention next month.
Mitt Romney, now the GOP’s unchallenged candidate for president, won all but two of the state’s 35 delegates, ensuring Paul wouldn’t be nominated at the Republican National Convention in August and preventing the chance of a raucous split convention between Romney and Paul supporters.
The Nebraska convention went smoothly despite earlier fears that the proceedings could become unruly, to the extent that the state GOP and Paul supporters released a statement promising to keep things cordial.
“We did it the Nebraska way. In Nebraska, we can have our disagreements but, at the end of the day, we work together,” Mark Fahleson, Nebraska’s GOP chairman told the Omaha World-Herald.
Romney holds strong ties to Nebraska’s Republican party, with Gov. Dave Heineman being the first governor to endorse his campaign, and a victory in the state’s primary in May.
Paul finished third during that primary, behind Rick Santorum, with 10% of the vote. But delegates were nonbinding until Saturday’s convention, leaving the opportunity open for Paul supporters to seize a plurality of their support, as they had in Iowa, Louisiana, Maine and Minnesota.
Had they been successful, Paul would have taken five state primaries, and per Republican National Committee rules, would have been placed as a nominee for the party candidacy and allotted 15 minutes to address the convention.
Instead, Paul’s presence at the national convention will probably be limited to a rally his campaign is holding a day prior to the main event, which will be joined by two separate rallies held by supporters of Paul’s libertarian causes.
Conservative radio host Jack Hunter, on Paul’s campaign site, dismissed claims that Nebraska represented the final chance for Paul’s presidential ambitions.
“They may be accurate in the immediate technical electoral sense, but are wholly inaccurate in the much more pertinent and larger sense when reporting on anything concerning Ron Paul and his very large, vocal and influential movement,” he said.