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Republican Party Changes Rules To Stop The Pauls

Avoiding “distractions” in Tampa.

Czarek Sokolowski / AP

TAMPA, Florida — The Republican National Committee’s Rules Committee voted to require written certification that a presidential candidate has a plurality of delegates from five states in order to get a space on the convention ballot — a move intended to provide a warning in the event of floor movement toward an insurgent candidate.

Tennessee committeeman John Ryder push the rules change to eliminate “distractions” on the convention floor, in an effort to “try to create a more streamlined convention procedure, that better reflects the realities,” he said.

“The focus is to get away from some of the residue of the 19th century,” he added.

Ryder also proposed raising the threshold for inclusion on the ballot from winning a plurality of 5 states to 10 states, a thinly-veiled move to make it harder for an insurgent candidate like Ron Paul to come up for a vote at the convention. Paul has urged his supporters not to disrupt Romney’s nomination, but his delegates have also bitterly battled Romney supporers for tickets to Tampa.

“Unless you’ve got a real contest, where you have two candidates or three candidates who actually have a mathematical chance of winning, then why do we want to go through the exercise,” Ryder said.

“It’s not an intent to block a specific candidate,” Ryder said when asked about Paul, but said it’s meant to prevent a future candidate who wins between 5 and 10 states from earning a spot on the ballot.

The threshold change was rejected by the rules committee after the loud objections by Ron Paul supporters and by committee-people from states with significant Paul contingents, but the notification requirement made the party’s rules.

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