Several hundred dissident Republicans are protesting what they called a “power grab” by the Republican National Committee that would let Washington insiders dictate how state parties select future presidential delegates.
"We are calling on Mitt Romney to repeal the rule," Marianne Stebbins, chair of the Minnesota delegation, said during a demonstration outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press
The convention approved the rule change Tuesday on a divided voice vote.
Stebbins said that the new rule undermined Republican principles.
"Our party stands for state and local control, not centralized government,” she said. “That should apply to the RNC.”
The rule change would prohibit the state party from continuing to conduct a non-binding presidential straw poll at its precinct caucuses in 2016. Instead, the Minnesota GOP would have to conduct a binding presidential primary and apportion its delegates based on the election results or hold caucuses without even a presidential vote. Most party activists at the national convention strongly prefer the current system of caucuses and conventions.
National GOP leaders changed the rule, in part, to prevent one candidate from winning a straw poll but another getting a majority of a state's delegates. That happened in Minnesota this year when former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum won the straw poll while Texas Rep. Ron Paul collected 80 percent of the national delegations with a superior organization at the party's local, congressional district and state conventions.
The straw poll is a big draw for many voters, and many likely would skip the caucuses if they couldn't vote for presidential candidates.
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