PORTLAND, Maine (PNN) - July 29, 2012 - Members of Maine's Republican Party have filed a challenge to a pro-Ron Paul slate of delegates from Maine who were elected to attend next month's Republican National Convention.
Peter Cianchette, a prominent Republican leader, and Janet Martens Staples, a Maine representative on the Republican National Committee, filed the challenge to 14 pro-Paul delegates and alternates on Saturday, the last day they could be challenged.
A letter signed by Cianchette and sent to the counsel for the RNC in Washington claims there were illegal votes at May's state Republican Convention, that a quorum wasn't present when votes for delegates were taken, and that convention officials violated party and parliamentary rules.
Staples said the integrity of the process is at stake.
"I have a special obligation to understand, respect and follow those rules, and it is my sincere belief that we did not, in an egregious manner," said Staples, who serves on the RNC's rules committee.
The letter from Cianchette, who ran unsuccessfully in 2002 for governor, was sent by registered mail to all 28 delegates and alternates elected at the Republican Convention in Augusta. Paul supporters took control of the convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman, thereby stripping presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney of delegates.
One of the challenged delegates, Matt McDonald, said the challenge is "utter foolishness" and that all rules were followed at the convention.
"Unenrolled (voters) will say, `Look at the Republicans, they couldn't stop fighting each other,'" said McDonald.
The challenge will be heard by the party's contest committee, Staples said, but its finding could be challenged before the credentials committee, which will meet the weekend before the GOP national convention.
The convention is scheduled for August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida.