WASHINGTON -- A prominent Iowa Republican, and a major supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, did not hesitate to answer when asked recently how many of the Hawkeye State's 28 delegates he expects Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to have heading into the national convention in Tampa this August.
"Twenty," he said.
Conversations with numerous Iowa Republicans confirms the same thing: The state party establishment is dreading a Paul rout on June 15 and 16 at the two-day congressional district/state convention in Des Moines.
"Paul is costing the state a lot of credibility," said Bob Haus, a GOP consultant who most recently headed up Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign in the state.
Another Republican operative who works for a statewide official sounded an even more despondent note.
"It does not sound encouraging. The Paul people are in a position to control the delegates, and the result would be chaotic for the Republican Party of Iowa and bring it to a screeching halt, rendering it completely irrelevant to our efforts here," the Republican aide told The Huffington Post. "Nobody would rely on [the state party] for anything."