OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s State Republican Party convention turned raucous with supporters of Texas congressman Ron Paul taking the convention outside the Norman hotel where it was held after the convention adjourned and following a physical confrontation between a Paul supporter and a supporter of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
“There was one confrontation” state Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell said. “The sergeant-of-arms and a deputy broke it up.”
Paul supporter Lukus Collins attributed the altercation to the passion of the supporters of the candidates.
“It’s normal course during a convention like this. You have people who believe passionately in the candidates of their choice, in issues of their choice,” Collins said.
“This was the first time, as far as convention year, in a while where we didn’t have a (declared) winner. Mitt Romney’s out there, but he’s not confirmed,” as Sen. John McCain was at the time of the 2008 Oklahoma convention, Pinnell said.
“You have an impassioned group of Ron Paul supporters, you can certainly have a spirited convention,” Pinnell said.
Pinnell said the official vote was to approve the Republican Party’s primary results that provided 14 national delegates to Rick Santorum and 13 each to Romney and Newt Gingrich with the state’s three remaining delegates being Pinnell and the state’s national committeeman and committeewoman.
Paul said those results will be appealed to the national Republican Party.
Santorum and Gingrich have dropped out of the race since the Oklahoma primary, which was won by Santorum, and Pinnell said he believes delegates committed to those candidates will vote for the party’s nominee, presumed to be Romney.
“I believe we all want Barack Obama to be a one-term president,” Pinnell said. “I have no doubt that once we have an official nominee, I have no doubt that a great majority of us will be firmly behind our Republican nominee.”
Collins was not so sure, saying he might not even vote for president if the choice was between Romney and Obama.
“I would find that pretty difficult (to vote for Romney). You know, I don’t see a lot of difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama,” Collins said.
Richard Engle, who was defeated by Steven Fair in the race for state national committeeman, said he will support Romney if Romney is the nominee.
“I would have no trouble voting for him whatsoever, if he becomes the nominee. I’ll have no trouble voting for him whatsoever.”
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