By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
TAMPA — During the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, more than 10,000 supporters of Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul gathered at a competing celebration they dubbed the “Rally for the Republic,” complete with speeches, music and campaign flair meant to clash with the official convention across town.
The rally was organized by the Paul campaign after the congressman was denied a speaking role at the main convention, mostly likely because of his refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain.
For the 2012 RNC in Tampa, after a long-fought primary process which has so far accumulated close to 245 delegates for the congressman, many of those same supporters will indeed become part of the official delegate process on the floor of the convention—but that won’t stop their plans for a new party.
The festival will be held from Aug 24-26 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, ending just one day before the start of the official party convention on Aug 27.
James Davis, a spokesman for the RNC’s Committee on Arrangements, told the Tampa Tribune Wednesday that the committee has yet to make any assignments relating to events planned in the Tampa area, sparking fears that the national party would veto any attempt by Paul backers to gather just before the convention.
“If we can’t get this date secured, it will make it impossible to put on a festival of this large size,” Paul Festival spokesman Bryan Siemon initially told Fox News.
But after legal wrangling and confirming the dates with the committee, event organizers told attendees that the festival would go on.
“It is about nothing. Paper work, bureaucratic mumbo jumbo that means nothing. If anyone seriously thinks the RNC is going to try and void a contract the [Florida State Fairgrounds] made with the RNC Host Committee’s blessing, well, that is naive,” the organizers wrote on their Facebook page.
Early estimates by organizers posited that over 100,000 Paul supporters would attend the event, but it is not yet certain if the congressman himself will attend, aides told Business Insider.
Officials for the RNC and the Paul Festival did not return calls or emails to Florida Watchdog.