CLEARWATER, Fla. — Eight of Colorado’s 36 Republican delegates, all of whom supported Ron Paul, abstained Monday morning rather than pledging their support to the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.
“We’re here because principles matter a lot more than candidates,” said Jim Gaston, an alternate delegate from near Trinidad who supports Ron Paul and refused to pledge his support for Romney. “The Republican Party platform is actually pretty Constitutional, but our candidates don’t always follow it.”
Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call told FOX31 that the diversity of the delegation is a positive.
“We respect all the different points of view within our delegation, and we always have a robust debate,” Call said. “And what’s important is that we’re going to gavel in tomorrow and nominate the right candidate to turn our economy around, and that’s Mitt Romney.”
The obstinacy from the Colorado delegation’s more libertarian members took place during a breakfast at the delegation’s hotel ahead of the Republican National Convention, which begins Tuesday. The breakfast also included a short speech from Matt Romney, the candidate’s second oldest son.
Romney, who is already in town along with his brothers and making the rounds entertaining delegates and obliging media requests, is engaged in an overall effort that coincides with the RNC’s main objective this week — humanizing his father to the American people.
“People don’t really know my dad yet,” Romney told a group of reporters after his remarks. “He is a little different in public than the dad we know.”
Craig Romney, another of Mitt Romney’s sons, is also featured in a new radio ad released Monday that describes his parents’ relationship and invites voters to get to know them as people.
Due to Tropical Storm Isaac, RNC officials cancelled the first day of votes and speeches on Monday; a somewhat truncated convention agenda will begin in earnest Tuesday with the official nomination of Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan.
That change of plans leaves Colorado’s 36 delegates, along with the 33 alternates who traveled to Tampa, with a free day to explore the area.
State Sen. Bill Cadman was considering organizing an excursion to a nearby movie theater to watch the new movie, “Obama 2016,” a conservative vision of what America might look like after a second Obama term.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers told FOX31 that the storm isn’t going to distract from the convention’s two main events, the speeches by Ryan and Romney Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Suthers, attending his fourth GOP convention, said the vibe in Tampa reminds him of the convention in 2000.
“It feels like we’ve got a lot of momentum this time around,” Suthers said. “This feels like it’s going to be our year.”