Even since Mitt Romney became the official Republican nominee for the 2012 Presidential Election, many of Ron Paul’s supporters have been torn on whom they will cast their vote for.
Since Libertarian leaning Republican Paul has refused to endorse Romney, Obama and Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson and has also proclaimed himself as an “undecided voter”, many of his supporters remain divided on the issue.
As part of a wrap-up meeting, about 35 Ron Paul supporters gather in Knoxville at Paulo’s Grill to discuss the mater. The group was largely made up of disenfranchised Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party members, and members from the Tennessee Liberty Alliance.
Although there was not a consensus on the next in kin to the Paul movement, all present seemed to be in agreement that Obama is not their candidate of choice.
“We see through Obama’s agenda,” said TLA member Curt Kelsey. “With Romney the economy may improve in the short term. We are here tonight to see what we can do.”
T.J.Garland, another member of the TLA, seemed to be close to a conclusion on who to cast his vote for.
“I have been going back and forth on this,” he said. “As a protest vote, I’d like to see 100,000 write-in votes for Ron Paul.”
Because many Knoxville Paul supporters were unhappy with the way Paul’s delegates were treated at the Republican National Convention they said it would be difficult to support Romney, despite their heavy disapproval of Obama’s presidency.
“I’d like to hear Paul come out and endorse Gary Johnson,” said Shawn Hatmaker.
Hatmaker said if Romney lost because of Ron Paul supporters voting third party the Republican Party may be more willing to take up some of Paul’s platforms such as non-interventionist foreign policy, ending the Federal Reserve System, and restoring civil liberties lost through legislation such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.
And while Johnson certainly seemed to be garnering the endorsement of the majority of the group, still others turned to a different avenue and considered Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party.
“If Virgil Goode can get on the ballot in Tennessee I will vote for him,” said Jay Fradd. “If not, I will probably vote for Johnson.”
Fradd’s wife, Brooke, said she has already decided to vote for Johnson.
However, not all of Paul’s supporters seemed so intent on voting for a third party candidate.
Knox County Young Republicans Vice Chair Alex Roehl, said although he has not made up his mind yet, he may eventually support Romney.
“I’m still undecided,” he said. “I think Ron Paul put it best when he said he can’t fully endorse Romney. I am leaning toward Romney, but overall I agree with Ron Paul for not endorsing Romney.”
Also at the event, U.S. Senate Libertarian Candidate Dr. Shaun Crowell made a brief speech were he embraced many of Ron Paul’s platforms and explained how his Republican opponent Bob Corker has voted against the Constitution by supporting TARP, NDAA, and failing to support an audit of the Federal Reserve.
“Ron Paul is somebody I look up to,” Crowell said.
By Joe King