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The Brief: Aug. 28, 2012

As Tropical Storm Isaac skirted their convention, Republicans in Tampa narrowly avoided another storm: a Ron Paul revolt.

Ron Paul speaks at a rally at the University of Texas at Austin on April 26, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

As Tropical Storm Isaac skirted their convention, Republicans in Tampa narrowly avoided another storm: a Ron Paul revolt. 

Following indications on Monday that agitated Paul supporters would try to disrupt the convention, which had already been delayed one day by Isaac, Republican leaders moved to avert a protest that the party feared could divert attention from Mitt Romney.

As the Houston Chronicle reports, Romney supporters and party officials agreed late Monday to pull their support for a 2016 rule change that would have allowed presidential campaigns to select their own delegates to send to the national convention.

The rule change had angered Texas delegates and Paul supporters, who viewed the proposal as an attempt to stifle insurgent candidacies, which often benefit from the grassroots-driven delegate selection process at local and state conventions.  

In a letter read to delegates on Monday morning, Melinda Fredricks, the vice chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party, called the change an "unacceptable infringement on our right to freely choose our delegates to the national convention."

But by Monday evening, party officials had bowed to the Paul and Texas forces, presumably out of fear of a spotlight-stealing dispute. "This will allow Republicans of all stripes to come to the convention united and focused on defeating Barack Obama in November," the Republicans opposing the rule change wrote in an email, according to the Chronicle.

Convention attendees, meanwhile, spent the day off preparing for the impending festivities and, like some members of the Texas delegation, relaxing in their resort hotels.

Ted Cruz, the only Texan with a major speaking role at the event, will address the convention tonight around 8 p.m.

Culled:

  • Gov. Rick Perry on Monday named Michael Williams the new Texas education commissioner. A former railroad commissioner, Williams last year mounted a run to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate before switching to the Congressional District 25 race, where he lost the Republican primary to Roger Williams, a fellow former U.S. Senate candidate. Williams' appointment comes as the Texas Education Agency faces mounting challenges related to budget cuts, opposition among Texans to the state's standardized testing system and legal challenges to the state's school finance system.
  • David Dewhurst's loss to Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate primary stirred immediate speculation about the lieutenant governor's political future — hints of which may be trickling out. The San Antonio Express-News has obtained a message inviting recipients to a "reception to re-elect Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst" on Sept. 19. A banner reading "David Dewhurst Lt. Governor 2014" runs across the top of the invitation, which also asks for donations. As of Monday night, Dewhurst had yet to respond to the paper's request for comment.
  • State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has been selected by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to chair the Senate Finance Committee. Williams, who will replace retiring Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, was chosen over Ogden’s vice chairman, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Dewhurst also reappointed Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, to chair the State Affairs Committee, and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, to head the Health and Human Services Committee.

"Don’t be surprised to see him run for governor and if, God forbids, the election doesn’t go the way we hope it will, he’ll take another look at a run for 2016."Rick Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan to The Dallas Morning News on the governor's agenda at the Republican National Convention

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