Fitial, others sued by Ron Paul supporters over GOP primaries

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial is among the Republican Party chairmen of every U.S. state and territory, along with the Republican National Committee, that GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul supporters sued for allegedly improperly helping frontrunner Mitt Romney during the primaries.

Fitial is the current president of the Republican Party of the CNMI Association.

Romney won the GOP primaries in the CNMI on March 10.

The governor “shares the views of the RNC that the suit is completely frivolous but one to which a serious response must be made,” press secretary Angel Demapan told Saipan Tribune yesterday when the governor was sought for comment.

“The RNC counsels will provide joint defense on behalf of all of the defendants. Given that this is a matter before the courts now, further comment is reserved until the appropriate time,” Demapan added.

The Republican National Committee calls the lawsuit “frivolous,” but plans a vigorous defense nonetheless, some national media said.

A group of more than 100 Ron Paul supporters sued RNC, RNC chair Reince Priebus, the Republican parties of every U.S. state and territory, and the chair of each state party on June 11.

They hope that a federal judge will rule that all delegates to the national convention are “unbound” and therefore free to vote for the candidate of their choice even if they were won by Romney. Most state parties require delegates to vote for the candidate who won them in primaries or caucuses.

The plaintiffs also alleged that RNC has been helping Romney’s campaign throughout the presidential primary, in violation of party rules.

Romney sent his son Matt and daughter-in-law to Saipan in March to campaign on his behalf, the first time in CNMI history that a presidential campaign has set foot on the islands.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won an overwhelming 87 percent or 740 of the 848 votes cast in the CNMI on March 10.

Rick Santorum got only 6 percent or 53 votes.

Ron Paul got 3 percent or 28 votes.

Newt Gingrich also got 3 percent, or 27 votes.

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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