Cover Story

Into the last laps

"Into the last laps" Continued...

Issue: "Dead heat," Sept. 22, 2012

Morton Blackwell - a Romney supporter and social conservative on the rules committee - was appalled: "It's the worst set of changes I've ever seen." The changes not only diminish the influence of those with less power than the GOP leaders, they're also counterproductive to winning supporters of candidates like Paul, he says: "We should be doing everything in our power to embrace those who lost the nomination. Not grind our heel in their face."

At least two Texas delegates said they wouldn't vote for Romney after the changes. Outside the convention center, Stephen Lee and Brad McCally sported the crisp blue shirts and white Stetsons of their delegation. Lee's cowboy hat also bore a sticker: "Ron Paul 2012." Both men were considering supporting the GOP by voting for Romney this fall, but Lee said: "The Republican Party just shot themselves in the foot."

It wasn't just Paul supporters upset over the changes. Julie McCarty - a Santorum supporter and a Texas delegate - said the changes squelch grassroots voices like Tea Party activists. "Now we're back at square one, trying to get the enthusiasm back up so we can go back out and campaign for Mitt Romney," she says. That's a problem the candidate could face among voters he'll need in a tight election. "I'll vote for him," says McCarty. "But I don't know how hard I'll campaign for him."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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