Ron Paul supporters control Republican county conventions

UPDATE, 10:45: A Ron Paul volunteer and organizer in Kansas City confirms that the Jackson County Republican caucus elected a nearly-complete slate of Paul delegates at its convention Saturday.

Larry Holland says the caucus elected more than 170 Paul delegates out of an estimated 187 available. Those delegates will eventually, directly and indirectly, pick delegates to the Republican National Convention.

“We all know that on the first ballot, we have to vote for McCain,” Holland said, but “we can also help affect the Republican platform, and bring it back to its conservative, libertarian values.”

Holland also says Jackson County Republican chairman Bunk Farrington walked out of the session, held at William Chrisman High School. We’ve got a call in to him.

Ron Paul supporters packed caucuses in other counties, with mixed results.

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Details are sketchy, but we’re told supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took over party conventions in several Missouri counties Saturday, including Jackson County, electing Ron Paul slates in several of them.

Delegates elected at the county level will attend congressional district conventions in several weeks, where roughly half of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention will be picked.

The rest will be picked at the party’s state convention in late May and early June, again by delegates picked by the county convention attendees.

As a practical matter, though, electing Paul delegates — even at the state convention, planned for late May and early June — won’t change the presidential nomination picture. Missouri is a winner-take-all state for the GOP and delegates are bound to vote for John McCain on the first ballot. There won’t be a second.

But Paul delegates could influence platform discussions at the state level, and, if sent to the national convention, could saddle McCain with a platform he won’t be happy with.

We’re told the Jackson County convention was a bit raucous. We’re gathering info and will have more here later.

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