Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention

At the Nueces County Republican party convention, March 29th, in Corpus Christ Texas, Ron Paul supporters walked out in protest and held their own emergency convention in the parking lot. Republican party Chairperson Mike Bertuzzi grossly violated party rules by announcing new delegates to the morning’s roll call who were never elected as precinct delegates on the night of the Republican primary, then again by ignoring repeated objections by party delegates, which he is required to recognize..

Mr. Bertuzzi claims that he avoided a ‘party takeover’ by unruly Ron Paul supporters, but a recently released audio tape of the event clearly shows otherwise. As a blatant violation of convention rules is underway by the Chairperson, many delegates can be heard rising to voice objections with no avail until a local man, Paul Hunt , is escorted out by the Sergeant at Arms..

CORPUS CHRISTI — Nueces County Republican Chairman Mike Bertuzzi survived a potential convention takeover.

At the group’s county convention Saturday, a man began causing a scene while committees were making reports. Republican county conventions nominate delegates for the state convention based upon the ratio decided in the March 4 primaries.

“We were able to stop that and take care of business,” Bertuzzi said. “I don’t know what their purpose was. They claim they were Ron Paul supporters. I can’t imagine Ron Paul would put people up to this.”

Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas and presidential candidate, is far behind presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain. The scene at the Nueces County convention appeared to be part of a larger effort by Paul supporters to gain delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Kansas City Star reported his supporters took over a county convention there March 17 and elected 170 of 187 delegates.

Bertuzzi, who chaired the meeting, said he did not recognize the group to speak and some members were escorted out by the sergeant at arms. Then about 40 members of the faction convened in another room in what’s known as a “rump convention.”

Rump conventions are a separate meeting conducted by a group that feels it has been disenfranchised. Participants can form their own committees and elect their own delegates, then send a report to the state party, which then decides which convention to recognize from that county.

Bertuzzi said he knew about the potential takeover attempt and how to handle it. A successful takeover of a Nueces County convention in 1988 split the party for years, he said.

“There was no way when I’m chairman that I’m going to let that happen,” he said.

About 200 people stayed in the original convention, and 184 were elected to state. Bertuzzi said he expects the other faction to challenge his delegate status at the state convention.

Drusilla Knight-Villarreal, who organized this convention, was county chairwoman during the 1988 takeover. She described the scene Saturday as chaotic.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “And I’ve been involved my entire life.”

Contact Denise Malan at 886-4334 or