As you walk to the Excel Center, you can see dozens of Ron Paul signs everywhere, and several billboards across town. Several Ron Paul supporters are standing by the entrance gate to the Excel Center and one of them asked if I’d be going to the rally. I asked him where and when, and he said that the rally will start around noon at the Target Center, which is near the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Paul said he organized his counterconvention after officials at the Republican National Committee told him he would not be permitted to address their convention. Paul said the RNC has also limited his access to the convention floor, and his movements at the hall will be monitored by the party. He is not supporting John McCain’s candidacy, but he said his event should not be viewed as a protest.
The rally has been going on for a couple of days, and some refer to it as a shadow convention.
Is this is a move for Paul to gain some leverage in the Republican party? The Washington Times reports that
The McCain campaign, acting through the Republican National Committee, has been negotiating with Rep. Ron Paul to win his support and acquire the names of his sympathizers among the 4,607 delegates and alternates at the Republican National Convention, according to a senior aide to the Texas congressman.
The mailing list is valuable, for fundraising, of course, but also for getting out the vote:
He has a donors list of about 180,000 people that Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said would do the McCain campaign no good because the loyalty of those donors is not transferable.
Does that mean that Paul going to spin off on his own?
We’ll find out soon enough.