The state Republican convention at the end of this month is expected to be lively as Ron Paul supporters try to pick up more delegates in hopes their candidate can have some influence at the national convention in Florida.

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OLYMPIA — GOP leaders are bracing for a combative Washington state party convention as supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul look to seize more delegates from presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

Paul devotees have fared well in caucus states, recently seizing control of state conventions in Maine and Nevada. Washington’s convention at the end of this month offers yet another chance to add delegates so that the campaign can have more influence at the national convention in Florida.

Kirby Wilbur, the state GOP chairman, said Paul has strength in the 7th Congressional District anchored in Seattle and the 3rd District stretching from Olympia to Vancouver. He expects Paul’s campaign will pick up at least six to nine delegates out of 40 possible.

They could secure more delegates if they can persuade supporters of Rick Santorum to side with them, and Wilbur expects them to aggressively try, saying he’d be disappointed if they don’t.

“I don’t want to have a boring convention,” he said.

Delegates to the state convention are not pledged to any candidate but were mostly chosen at local conventions based on support for a given candidate. Wilbur estimates a little more than half back Romney, one-quarter back Paul and 20 percent backed Santorum.

The delegates will choose three national delegates per congressional district. Then the whole convention will chose 10 at-large delegates.