'Kind of like a family': Republicans finish state convention in Tacoma
Washington Republicans likely will emerge from their sometimes-contentious convention in Tacoma with excitement and energy, Rep. Dave Reichert predicted Saturday.
“It’s kind of like a family,” the Auburn congressman said. “You have your internal battles and then you come out of that discussion together, arm in arm, and I’m sensing that’s going to happen when the convention is concluded.”
As he spoke, the state GOP was picking the last of a slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention heavily weighted toward presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Still, libertarian Ron Paul added five extra national delegates, which could amplify the voice of his backers at the convention in Tampa, Fla.
Paul supporters were a loud presence at the gathering Friday and Saturday, booing a speech by Romney’s son Josh and voicing their doubts about Romney’s conservative credentials. But the convention never exploded into an all-out battle.
And the outcome was never really in doubt. Thirty-four of 40 Washington delegates elected in Tacoma will go to Tampa pledged to Romney. (One backed former rival Rick Santorum as part of a Paul-aligned slate.)
Romney delegates include U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, former state Sen. Dino Rossi, and such South Sound residents as Marlyn Jensen of Gig Harbor, Ron Talcott of Tacoma, Joel Siegel of Fox Island, Jane Milhans of University Place and Secretary of State Sam Reed of Olympia.
Another is state Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn, who said the slate included some Santorum and Newt Gingrich supporters who agreed to accept the party’s nominee.
“This slate is a unity slate,” she said, “and the Paul people did not agree to support Romney … so they weren’t on it.”
Paul supporters tried to win a share of the statewide slate of 10 delegates elected Saturday on the convention floor but were shut out. Matt Dubin, the Paul campaign’s state chairman from North Seattle, said party leaders missed an opportunity to unite Republicans.
“It seems like their version of party unity is we basically shut up and do what we’re told,” Dubin said.
The state will send 43 delegates to the national convention, including three state party leaders who are not bound to a candidate but have endorsed Romney.
The work of picking delegates at times bogged down in procedural details, leaving Republicans little time Saturday to debate the official issue positions of their party.