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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ron Paul to hold his own event before Republican National Convention



TAMPA – Now there are three. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign said Monday that the libertarian candidate will not be attending Paul Festival 2012, a three-day event being organized in his honor by some of his supporters just before the Republican National Convention.

That's because Paul plans to hold a rally of his own on Aug. 26, the day before the convention starts, said Paul campaign deputy national press secretary James Barcia.

Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton and convention spokesman James Davis said late Monday that the convention and the campaign are working to secure a site for the candidate's event. The convention is looking at its list of 73 official RNC venues for a location, though Benton said the campaign is not looking at the Florida State Fairgrounds, the planned site for the Paul Festival.

Paul's event will celebrate the candidate's accomplishments in the cause of liberty and will set a tone of "professionalism and respect" for Paul's delegates going into the Aug. 27-30 convention, Benton said. It will be an open event.

If you’re keeping score, this makes three pre-convention events now said to be in the works by Paul or his supporters. There’s the candidate’s own event, plus Paul Festival 2012 and Freedom Festival 2012 at Fantasy of Flight's property in Polk County .

Paul Festival, the first of the events to be announced, is being organized by Liberty Unleashed, a nonprofit group formed by a group of Paul supporters who have worked on previous events spotlighting the candidate and his movement.

Organizer Deborah Robinet of southern California was not worried about Monday's announcement.

Paul Festival organizers have been in touch with Paul personally, she said, and she understood that he'll be speaking to his delegates before the convention.

“What we’ve decided to do is offer him (the fairgrounds’) Expo Hall on Sunday, so he can have his event there,” she said.

There’s no commitment yet, she said, but “we’re hopeful. I can’t see him not being at this event.”

Meanwhile, the convention’s Committee on Arrangements has not said whether it has released the fairgrounds for the Paul Festival -- or anything else. Festival organizers, however, are moving forward, saying they’ve got a signed contract with the fairgrounds, and that’s good enough for them.

[Last modified: Monday, June 18, 2012 7:45pm]


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