Why Ron Paul won’t run as an independent

There had been some speculation over the last few months that Ron Paul may decide to continue his campaign as a third party or independent candidate, but The Weekly Standard picked up some comments yesterday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that offers some insight into what his inner circle may be thinking:

Following an interview at a Des Moines radio station, I asked Rand Paul if he has encouraged his father to stay in the Republican party if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination. ”I’m encouraging him to try to win the Iowa primary. It’s kind of hard to think about leaving your party when you might be the nominee,” he said.

Asked if he would support his father as a third-party candidate, Paul replied: ”I’ve always said I think the Tea Party movement is best and most effective within the Republican party. The Tea Party movement as a separate movement would divide some of the Republican vote.”

“I have not been publicly in favor of a third party candidate and I have not been in favor of the Tea Party splitting off,” Paul said. “But I think people really need to rethink that question when a guy’s leading the polls in Iowa—to be asking about running as a third party when we’re still talking about winning the Republican nomination.”

The second paragraph is key, and it’s not just a concern about keeping the Tea Party movement unified. Even though Ron Paul is retiring and would seemingly have nothing to worry about in terms of punishment from running as an independent or third party candidate, such a move would probably hurt his son’s political career. You may say that’s not fair or deny that this would actually happen, but politics has a cruel way of eventually coming back around.

Rand Paul is going to carry the mantle of the liberty movement, also serving as a bridge with the Tea Party movement, when his father retires and he has a bright future as a leader in the Republican Party. I doubt Ron Paul wants to put that in jeopardy.


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