WASHINGTON — A prominent Iowa Republican, and a major supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, did not hesitate to answer when asked recently how many of the Hawkeye State’s 28 delegates he expects Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to have heading into the national convention in Tampa this August.
“Twenty,” he said.
Conversations with numerous Iowa Republicans confirms the same thing: The state party establishment is dreading a Paul rout on June 15 and 16 at the two-day congressional district/state convention in Des Moines.
“Paul is costing the state a lot of credibility,” said Bob Haus, a GOP consultant who most recently headed up Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign in the state.
Another Republican operative who works for a statewide official sounded an even more despondent note.
“It does not sound encouraging. The Paul people are in a position to control the delegates, and the result would be chaotic for the Republican Party of Iowa and bring it to a screeching halt, rendering it completely irrelevant to our efforts here,” the Republican aide told The Huffington Post. “Nobody would rely on [the state party] for anything.”
After the fiasco earlier this year involving the caucus results, Iowans are nervous that if Paul gets a majority of the delegates, it will endanger their first-in-the-nation primary status. On Jan. 3, Romney was reported the winner, only to have the state GOP announce two weeks later that the result was inconclusive, then to reverse again and say that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was the victor. The party chairman, Matt Strawn, resigned as a result of the confusion.
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