TAMPA, Fla. — Chanting "as goes Maine, so goes the nation," scores of supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) marched through the hallway surrounding the Tampa Bay Times Forum, angry that the RNC replaced some delegates supporting Paul with those supporting Romney.
The delegates, who hailed from a number of different states and included some from other candidates, are upset that the Republican National Committee on Friday replaced 10 delegates.
"It's systemic, the corruption from the Romulans," fumed Justin Carro, a Paul delegate from Alaska, referring to the Romney campaign. Carro said Paul backers are upset about actions from the Romney campaign across the country throughout the primary season to try to change the rules to minimize Paul's delegates — with the Maine situation the latest snub.
The protest, followed by a walkout, came not long after a video tribute to Paul and a speech by his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who implored the delegates to unite behind Romney.
The protesters weren't moved.
"We're going to have a hard time getting behind a guy who's crapped on us," said Danny Golde, a Paul supporter and an alternate delegate from Alaska for former Sen. Rick Santorum. Golde said many Paul backers are considering voting for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson in November. "We have a hard time seeing a lot of difference between Romney and Obama," Golde said, noting that both had backed bailouts, the USA PATRIOT Act and other policies Paul's supporters oppose.