Ron Paul’s campaign to take a step back
While Republicans have constantly tried to dismiss his campaign, Ron Paul has certainly showed that there is a strong battle for the heart and soul of the party; pitting limited government conservatives and libertarians up against the establishment. But Paul hinted yesterday that, while his campaign has had success in exposing these fissures, he has decided to scale back his operation:
An announcement from Rep. Ron Paul indicates that the Republican presidential candidate will no longer actively campaign for the GOP nomination, but will continue to work to secure delegates at upcoming Republican state conventions. “Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted,” said Paul, in a statement released Monday afternoon. “Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”
But the longtime congressman from Texas, who’s making his third bid for the White House, says he’ll continue to try and secure delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida in late August.
“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. 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,” adds Paul, in his statement.
Paul hasn’t suspended his campaign, as some media outlets are reporting. The delegate strategy that his supporters are carrying out at caucuses and state conventions is very much alive. However, it seems that Paul is more interested in gaining enough delegates to make changes to the platform, rather than to ruin Romney’s chance at the nomination.
Dave Weigel suggests that Paul has issued this statement now so that it will not hurt his son, Sen. Rand Paul, in his home state of Kentucky, which heads to the polls next week:
[Paul’s decision is] Practical, and yet still bad timing. Still on the calendar are primaries in Arkansas (May 22), the last of the deep South states that have proven inhospitable to the grandaddy of health care mandates; Kentucky (May 22), where Paul’s son is a U.S. Senator; Texas (May 29), where Paul lives; Montana (June 5), where Paul won votes as a third party candidate* in 2008; and California (June 5), where Paul can pick up hundreds of thousands of protests votes.
The Kentucky factoid’s probably the relevant one here. Eight days out, Paul wants us to know that his crushing defeat in the state will have no impact whatsoever on Rand Paul’s rising star.
And the younger Paul’s political future is one reason why I doubt that the Ron Paul and his advisors want to take the delegate fight for the nomination to the floor of the Republican National Covention in August, as Doug Mataconis explains:
According to RealClearPolitics estimates, Paul currently has 99 delegates to Romney’s 949, although as I have noted in a recent post, Paul’s supporters have been engaged in what some are calling a “hijacking” strategy at the convention level in states that held caucuses this year. What these delegates might do at the Republican National Convention is anyone’s guess, although for his own reasons I seriously doubt that Paul would want them to do anything to disrupt the convention if only because of the impact that could have on his son’s political future.
Rand Paul, provided he doesn’t keep saying very stupid things, has a bright future in front of him, whether he stays in and keeps influencing the Senate towards a fiscally conservative direction or he eventually carries his father’s message forward in a presidential campaign.
No matter the reason Ron Paul is taking a step back in his campaign, it’s certainly a blow to younger voters, many of whom are disenfranchised with Obama and won’t vote for Romney. Ron Paul was one of the few figures in Washington that appealed to them. Whether they’re willing to listen to Rand Paul or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, remains to be seen; but for now, at least, a solid voice for their concerns about America’s future has started to drift away.