Perhaps the leading supporter of Ron Paul in South Carolina, state Sen. Tom Davis had harsh words for GOP leadership after a floor fight that saw numerous delegates committed to Paul leave in protest.
The dispute between Paul supporters and the GOP had been brewing for some time as Republican leadership that was loyal to nominee Mitt Romney put forth a proposal that said, in those primary states with a popular vote, the candidates would be awarded delegates in proportion to their percentage of the popular vote.
“GOP leadership has an obligation to include (Ron Paul supporters) and if they don’t, they risk losing the election,” said Davis, a first-term Republican from Beaufort County, who spoke to Patch from Tampa.
Particularly vocal in their opposition to the rule change were twenty Paul backers from Maine, who lost their status as official delegates and then left in anger.
Paul earned 166 over the course of the primary season and none of them ended up being recognized at the convention.
Davis, who hosted a , said he understood the disappointment of the delegates who were not counted.
“You spend so much time and energy to advance the cause and you want to know where you stand,” Davis said.
Though there is dissatisfaction, Davis said the supporters of Paul should feel gratified and deserve to be heard. The fact that the official GOP party platform includes a mandate to audit the Federal Reserve is a sign of success.
But the fissure between Paul supporters in the Party should not be minimized, according to Davis.
“We want to advance the ideas of liberty within the GOP,” Davis said. “We have moved the needle, but the party’s deeds and aren’t matching its words.”
Davis said he thinks the GOP should do everything possible to win over Paul’s enthusiastic supporters into helping elect Romney.
“If (the GOP) doesn’t capitalize on all this energy they’ll lose this election,” Davis said. “And the GOP will go back to being the party of old people.”
“They need to listen to these kids. They are the future of our party and the future of our country,” Davis said.
Davis has been oft-rumored as a possible challenger to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2014, but he’s not worried about alienating some in the GOP establishment.
“I’ve already jumped off the bridge,” he said. “I’ve made the leap. It’s unfortunate that there is always resistance to something new. That’s exactly the wrong thing to do at this point in time.”
Paul received nearly 2.1 million votes in the Republican primaries alone. As a means of comparison, the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry was decided by 3 million votes.