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Ron Paul backers seek influence at GOP convention

•, Associated Press

Paul backers have taken over state Republican conventions Nevada and Maine, and were aiming to do the same this weekend in Iowa, aiming to increase their voice and clout at the nominating convention in Tampa, Fla.

"We want to send Ron Paul-inspired folks to that convention to show we're not going away," says Iowa Republican David Fischer, a top Paul backer in the state.

Supporters say they hope to promote Paul's conservative principles, which have attracted a strong following of young voters and tea party activists, by flooding ballots for the convention and urging changes to the party platform.

Since Paul's unsuccessful 2008 candidacy for the GOP nomination, his top organizers have set about working within the party's structure to gain influence. The hope is to bend it toward principles he espouses, chiefly smaller government, sound monetary policy and a limited international military presence.

Paul stopped campaigning last month after netting only 137 of the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a national tea party figure, has endorsed Romney.

Paul's impossible odds didn't discourage activists from seizing 32 of the 40 national delegates last month at Minnesota's GOP convention.

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