TACOMA – Washington Republicans gave Mitt Romney a boost Saturday, just two days before he’s expected in the state for a fundraising visit.
Romney supporters at the state convention captured all the delegates and alternates to the national convention up for election, naming several prominent politicians and longtime party members to those spots.
It was the second day of picking national delegates. Friday’s choices were made when the convention split into groups representing the state’s 10 congressional districts. Saturday’s choices were made by the convention as a whole.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Romney state co-chairwoman who received one of the delegate slots Saturday, insisted it was really a “unity” slate which included supporters of other GOP candidates. But not Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who only recently suspended his campaign and whose Washington supporters were shut out of Saturday’s vote. Paul picked up five of 30 delegates Friday.
“The Ron Paul delegates had their own approach, their own strategy,” she said.
That led to some grumbling among Paul supporters that they should have received a proportional share of delegates. But State Republican Chairman Kirby Wilbur, who presided over the convention, said the results reflected the fact that Romney had about 70 percent of the votes.
Along with McMorris Rodgers, the statewide slate includes former gubernatorial and Senate candidate Dino Rossi, former gubernatorial candidate John Carlson and state Sen. Pam Roach.
“It’s easy, when you’re in the minority, to claim you would’ve acted differently if you’d been in the majority,” Wilbur said. That didn’t happen in 1976, when supporters of Ronald Reagan had more delegates than President Gerald Ford, or in 1988 when supporters of Pat Robertson had more than nominee George H.W. Bush, he noted: “It’s politics. You have the votes, and you win.”
Regardless of the state delegation’s makeup, Romney has the delegates needed to secure the nomination, he added.
Wilbur was happy that Washington state’s convention fared much better than the Louisiana convention, which had to be broken up by police before delegates could be selected.
Romney will stop somewhere in eastern King County Monday for a fundraiser that McMorris Rodgers will attend, and the campaign will make some announcement regarding the Eastern Washington congresswoman.
That announcement will not be that she’s his pick for vice president, she said. Although she is sometimes mentioned in news accounts as being on a list of possible vice presidential nominees, McMorris Rodgers said she hasn’t talked to Romney about it.
The subject of the announcement has not been disclosed, nor has the location of the fundraiser, which will be at a private residence and not open to the media.