ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - California's delegation to the Republican National Convention was planning today to counteract any uprising by Ron Paul supporters on the convention floor, with officials preparing "delegate whips" to lead the effort.
The state delegation, marginalized in most matters because of California's heavily Democratic electorate, could be significant in drowning out any chants supporting Paul: The 172-member delegation is the nation's largest, and unlike some split delegations is fully committed to Romney.
In a private meeting at the delegation's beachfront hotel, Jeff Randle, the senior Romney adviser who is in charge of the California delegation, told 16 delegate whips to be prepared for a potential Paul uprising, including leading pro-Romney chants. Randle and the whips were expected to meet again Monday to finalize plans.
Paul stopped campaigning in the Republican primary months ago, but the Texas congressman's supporters are an exceptionally vocal group, and he maintains a small number of delegates. The Romney campaign plans to air a film about Paul during the convention, but it is unclear if that will be enough to quiet Paul's supporters.
California delegates were loading buses this afternoon for a welcome party at Tropicana Field. The event follows a private VIP reception in a penthouse at the delegation hotel.