TAMPA — Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, led by top Romney lawyer Ben Ginsberg, forced through a major change the GOP nominating process on Friday in response to Ron Paul supporters’ efforts to win delegates to the Republican National Committee..
The Republican National Convention Committee voted 56-40 to make it impossible for supporters of one presidential candidate to override the will of voters at a state convention, as Ron Paul supporters did in Iowa and Nevada.
The purpose of the change, Ginsberg said, was “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.”
The rule forces statewide presidential primaries or caucuses to determine the ultimate allocation of delegates, preventing takeovers like Paul executed in Iowa by eliminating unbound delegates in statewide contests. States would be allowed to decide whether to give all their delegates to the winner of the primary or caucus, or distribute them proportionally according to the results.
“Iowa will have to change the way they do it,” said a GOP official.
A second component of the amendment would require delegates to be approved by presidential candidates, lessening the chances of technically pledged delegates voting for a different candidate.
The original amendment would have removed the carve-out for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, but Ginsberg later clarified that was an error, after sparking a panic among early states.
Virginia delegate Morton Blackwell objected that the rule would have a “damaging effect on our presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”
“There are very large numbers of people who supported other candidates, in particular Ron Paul, who will see this as an attack on their behavior,” he said, warning that they could vote for the Libertarian party.