WATERVILLE — Ron Paul supporters on Saturday expressed frustration at the unseating of 10 Maine delegates at the Republican National Convention, saying they had been duly elected and were wrongly removed.
They met with State Republican Committee members at The Center downtown where the committee voted on resolutions introduced by Paul supporters and intended to confirm that the delegates were rightfully elected at the Maine Republican convention in May and should not have been unseated.
About 80 people turned out for the meeting, which was closed to the press and lasted just under two hours.
Jonathan Pfaff of Portland said he drove all night from the Republican convention in Tampa to make it to Saturday’s meeting.
 The Republican State Committee member and alternate delegate said one of the resolution items on Saturday’s agenda asked that Jan Staples, a Maine delegate who filed the original complaint challenging the election of the Paul delegates, be unseated.
But the committee did not vote on the item because Republican State Committee Chairman Charlie Webster declared  it out of order, as Staples as of Friday was no longer national committee representative from Maine, having been officially replaced Friday by Ashley Ryan of South Portland.
Pfaff, who called for Saturday’s meeting, said  it was not to focus on the Paul-Romney debate, but to emphasize that the Maine delegates were elected in a process that was ethical and correct and should not have been removed from their seats.
“It was not even an issue of Ron Paul versus Mitt Romney,” he said.
 The meeting was also about healing wounds within the state Republican party, according to Maine Tea Party founder Peter Harring of Auburn. Harring, one of the delegates that was unseated, said he wanted to see unity returned to the Republican party.
“We’re trying to get Republicans elected,” he said. “We’re trying to heal the wounds.”
Harring said Saturday’s meeting was a good one and members had a productive conversation.
“Everyone was respectful of each other,” he said.
Police officers stood by, both inside and outside the meeting, as they had been warned a protest might break out. But the meeting went off without any apparent controversy.
Webster said after the meeting that he believes if Ron Paul supporters are really Republicans, they will support Romney for president because his views are closest to theirs.
“I’m a (Rick) Santorum guy,” Webster said. “My guy lost. Now I’m a Romney guy.”
Webster estimated that 35 or 40 of the people who attended Saturday’s meeting were Paul supporters. Of the approximately 75 people present, several were guests, he said.
Pfaff said he had asked Webster to hold the meeting Aug. 11 or 18, but it did not happen.
Pfaff said he wanted to defend the Republican party against what he saw as a black mark on the party from accusations that election of delegates in Maine was not done correctly.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]


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