TAMPA, Fla.—A national television audience saw 28 Colorado delegates to the Republican National Convention cast their votes Tuesday night for Mitt Romney. The other eight delegates abstained.
Why the abstentions? It turns out those eight delegates were supporters of 12-term Texas congressman Ron Paul, who also sought the Republican presidential nomination.
The reason they were counted as abstentions is that Paul failed to win enough states during the primary to qualify as a candidate for the nomination under party rules, said Colorado Republican Party chair Ryan Call.
“The rules of the Republican National Committee provide that the only names that can be put into nomination are candidates who have won a certain number of states,” said Call. “So if the candidate’s name is not properly put into nomination, you can’t cast a vote for him.”
Of course, other states did announce the number of delegates supporting Paul and even former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the race in April.
The most prominent example came from the Minnesota delegation, which cast 33 votes for Paul, one for Santorum and six for Romney.
Call said those states were essentially violating the rules by casting their votes for candidates other than Romney.
Even though some delegations cast votes for Paul, the televised tally kept by the RNC placed those votes in the “other” category. At the end of the night, Romney had 2,061 votes, well in excess of the 1,144 required to win the nomination, and “other” had 202.
Colorado Republican delegates showed some style by wearing matching red Western shirts and cowboy hats during the nominating process. “We wanted to stand out because Colorado’s a really special state,” said Call.
The delegates wore white Western shirts Wednesday night, but don’t expect them to show up Thursday in blue, given the color’s association with so-called Democratic “blue states.”
“We’re not going to go there,” Call said.