The divisions have become increasingly apparent as Paul and his supporters plan for their last hurrah at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August. Ron Paul activists are planning competing festivals for the three days leading up to the convention, while the candidate himself has broken with the grassroots and opted to host his own rally.
In an effort to control his message and rise above the grassroots chaos, Paul has decided not to attend either festival, and will instead host his own rally in Tampa on August 26, the day before the convention, campaign manager, Jesse Benton, told Business Insider. He added that the campaign has finalizing a deal with the Republican National Committee a venue for the rally.
“We have said definitively, 100%, he’s not going,” Benton said. “We’ve always planned to have our own rally before the convention.”
But several insiders close familiar with the campaign’s discussion have suggested that the rally was actually planned with some reluctance, due to concerns that would be seen as a distraction by the RNC and the Mitt Romney campaign. According to those sources, the campaign’s hand was forced when grassroots activists decided to plan their own festivals, which could distort Paul’s message — and possibly hurt his position within the Republican Party — in the critical days before the convention.
“The movement has a life of it’s own,” a source close to the Paul campaign told Business Insider. “But the rally will for sure suppress turnout for the other events.”
Still, Ron Paul’s snub is a blow to the grassroots, exposing what is perhaps the most salient split in the Movement — the growing divide between the Paul political operation and the rebel army of the Ron Paul Revolution.
“It’s obviously disappointing — we’re doing something to honor someone, so of course, we would like it if he was there,” Paul Festival organizer Bryan Siemon told Business Insider. “Ron Paul and the campaign have told us that they didn’t want to hurt our event, so there’s definitely some confusion.”
“At the same time, we understand that we did this independently, and we can’t expect him to be obligated to attend,” Siemon added. “Everyone understands that its always been about the movement, not about one person.”
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