Longview man backing Ron Paul at GOP convention

LONGVIEW — Longview’s Samuel Webb is headed to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this summer — but he won’t be supporting presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

Webb is an ardent Ron Paul supporter and is one of 10 Paul delegates and alternates headed to the August convention as part of the state’s 83-person delegation. He’s the only Republican delegate from Cowlitz County.

He’d love for Paul to somehow emerge from the convention as the presidential nominee, but Webb said he also hopes to influence the party’s issues platform.

“It’s not just about Ron Paul winning,” Webb said of what’s been termed the liberty movement. “It’s about American ideals like liberty and freedom and not losing those.”

Webb, 35, is attending the convention as an alternate delegate, meaning he’ll step in on the floor whenever his assigned delegate is busy. He’s also heard that delegates and alternates often trade off duties to allow both people a chance to participate in votes.

Paul is considered a long shot, but Webb is undeterred.

“The Romney supporters are all about wanting to get rid of Obama, whereas the Ron Paul supporters

are more about wanting the right person in office,” Webb said. “Someone who is knowledgeable and stands for the liberties this country is based on. … Clearly he isn’t the front-runner, but we have hope.”

Webb, a married father of three who graduated from Rainier High School and works full time in construction, has long been a Republican. But it was Ron Paul’s campaign that sparked his interest and greater involvement in the party.

“After researching Ron Paul and the other candidates, my eyes were opened to the truth,” Webb said. “The scales fell off and I realized what was up. … That you have to vote your conscience and for the person you believe is going to do the right job no matter what.”

He’d like to see the Patriot Act abolished because he feels it infringes on important American freedoms. Webb also said both Republican and Democrat presidents have gone too far in restricting rights in exchange for counter-terrorism protections adopted after the 2001 attacks.

“The president is a servant, not the king,” he said.

Webb figures he needs about $3,000 to travel to the convention. Supporters have started a Facebook fundraiser campaign. Webb calls the campaign flattering and true to the generous nature he’s found in many Paul supporters.

Webb is one of a number of Ron Paul supporters running for local Republican precinct committee officers this fall. He said it’s time for fresh ideas in the party, acknowledging that will require challenging many long-time party members in the process.

Larry Wendfelt, the Cowlitz County Republican chairman, praised Webb’s attendance at the convention, saying Tuesday that it’s good to see a young man so interested in politics and that Webb is a fine representative of the region even though they differ on the nominee. Wendfelt backs Romney.

Wendfelt said he believed Webb is required to vote for Romney on the first ballot because he won the state nomination. Webb, though, said he’s heard of no such rule and has no plans to vote for Romney during the convention.

“There’s no way in the world I’m voting for Romney. I’m for Ron Paul, it’s a done deal,” he said.

Webb said he’s “certainly not” voting for Obama in the fall, but at the convention it’s all about Paul.

“I’m standing firm for him until we can fight no more,” Webb said.


Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com