Benito Segovia, an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, said he came to Minnesota because he had a duty to fulfill to the Republican Party members from Texas who elected him.
However, Segovia said he’s not happy. Sen. John McCain, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, doesn’t quite satisfy him.
“For better or worse, it’s what we’ve got,” Segovia said.
Segovia spent a portion of Tuesday afternoon rallying at the Target Center in Minneapolis for a different Republican — Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul.
“We want to stay in the party and promote these ideas of Ron Paul in the party,” he said.
Paul, whose run for the Republican Party’s nomination brought him legions of support and almost a hero-like following, addressed his fervent supports and kicked-off his Campaign for Liberty at the Target Center Tuesday night.
The event, called the Rally for the Republic, was originally slated to be held at Williams Arena, but moved to the larger Target Center to accommodate more people; the event sold more than 10,000 tickets at a patriotic $17.76 a piece.
“Our actions have sped up the revolution that was going to come anyway,” Paul told his fans.
The Campaign for Liberty is meant to support politicians with views similar to Paul’s small government ideals, and to inform people of them.
“We want little Ron Pauls to be out there running for office,” said Marianne Stebbins, Minnesota coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty.
“The country seemed to be right for this,” Paul said in a news conference early Tuesday. “We’re in serious trouble.”
Paul covered an assortment of topics in his hour-long address, from foreign policy to the Federal Reserve.
“Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it,” he said.
The Target Center looked ready to host a rock concert; music equipment adorned a stage set under multicolored lights — a red, white and blue podium befitting a presidential candidate was one of few signs hinting at a political rally.
Zach Bibeault , a University political science and communications student and Ron Paul supporter, said Ron Paul’s event was a good contrast to the convention.
“I’m not a fan of the RNC coming here, so it’s kind of cool that they’re having their own convention for what I consider to be real Republicans,” he said, though he didn’t attend.
Paul said he has no plans to attend the RNC in St. Paul, and an RNC spokesperson did not return calls for comment on Paul’s rally.
Paul had a sizable following in the Republican primaries, pulling in upwards of 15 percent of the vote in many closing primaries, even after McCain had clinched the nomination.
Paul won the Republican caucus on campus in February.
“One thing that has delighted me to no end has been the response of the young people,” Paul told supporters.
Some, such as Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr, hope the Paul hangover lasts into the general presidential election.
“This is where freedom reigns,” Barr said of Paul’s convention. “There’s really no electoral home in the fall election for Ron Paul supporters.”
Not everyone, like Bibeault, is sold on voting for Barr, a former Republican congressman. “The person I would be most likely to vote for is Ralph Nader,” Bibeault said, noting that he won’t vote for Barr. “I’m not a big fan of either major presidential party.”
Paul himself said he doesn’t intend to endorse any candidate.
“I don’t foresee giving any marching orders to my supporters,” he said.
The rally lasted all afternoon, and featured speakers such as former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, former U.S. congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., and Paul.
Stebbins called it, “a varied smorgasbord of liberty topics.”
Political science first-year Joel Hanson said he was surprised at how well Paul spoke.
“He really knew how to work the crowd,” he said.
Paul, who kept the roaring crowd on its feet all night long, called everyone to action.
“I now firmly believe our day is coming,” Paul said.