Paul to be speaker at Reno GOP event

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has accepted an invitation to speak at next month’s Nevada Republican Convention, scheduled for April 26 in Reno.

Paul, a Texas congressman with a libertarian, anti-war message, came in second in the January Nevada presidential caucuses and still enjoys fervent support from a vocal contingent of self-described "revolutionaries," most of them new to Republican politics.

Paul supporters have thronged Republican county conventions across the state in recent weeks. Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden’s announcement that she was inviting Paul to the state convention elicited cheers at the Clark County convention earlier this month.

Although he cannot win the nomination, Paul is still in the race. Since defeating a primary opponent for his House of Representatives seat, Paul has continued campaigning for the presidency and has not voiced support for presumptive nominee John McCain.

McCain has been invited to the Nevada convention and has not yet responded. Also invited but yet to respond are former contenders Mitt Romney, who won Nevada’s caucuses, and Mike Huckabee, both of whom support McCain.

A Nevada spokeswoman for the Paul campaign, Jennifer Terhune, said in a statement that Paul’s attendance at the convention "reflects Dr. Paul’s continued commitment to the presidential race and to the traditional conservative movement in the Republican Party."

She added, "Throughout this election cycle, Dr. Paul has recognized the important role Nevada can play in the selection of a presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention in September."

The convention is being held at the Peppermill casino in Reno. It is scheduled to kick off April 25 with a gala ball hosted by Gov. Jim Gibbons. The April 26 agenda will include speeches and the election of delegates to the Republican National Convention.

State GOP Executive Director Zac Moyle welcomed Paul to the convention but made it clear he shouldn’t be seen as a contender.

"Ron Paul’s brought a lot of people into the party, and we’re excited about that," Moyle said. "We’re coming together to get behind John McCain — he is our nominee — but we’re happy to have Ron Paul come speak and be a part of the convention."

Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball or (702) 387-2919.

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