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Why Ron Paul's 2012 effort may not really be over

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Mark Makela/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul departs after holding a rally outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on April 22. Congressman Paul announced on May 14 that he will no longer actively campaign in upcoming primary states.

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Is Ron Paul ending his official campaign for the Republican presidential nomination? That seems to be case, as he announced Monday that he won’t be spending any more money in states that have not yet voted.

That would mean no Ron Paul ads in Texas, no Ron Paul travel to California, no Ron Paul pamphlets in Kentucky, and in general no Paul presence on the stump.

Continuing on “with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have,” said Congressman Paul in a statement posted Monday on his campaign website.

However, does the end of the Ron Paul campaign mean the end of the Ron Paul 2012 effort? We would argue that it does not. Paul will continue to look for ways to make headlines and press forward to some sort of appearance at the GOP’s August convention in Tampa, Fla.

Why do we think this? First, Paul said so. In his statement today, he noted that “we will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future."

Obviously, the Paul campaign will continue with its strategy of urging supporters to swamp state conventions and get themselves elected delegates to the national confab. As we’ve written before, this is a clever, cheap way of using complicated delegate-allocation rules to Paul’s advantage.

What the Texas libertarian may be doing is amassing “stealth delegates” – delegates bound by primary or caucus vote to Mitt Romney, or one of the withdrawn GOP candidates, who are personally in favor of Paul. It’s hard to count how many such delegates there are – or whether they’ll abstain in the first round, or otherwise cause some sort of disturbance, in Tampa.

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