As it becomes increasingly apparent that Ron Paul will not win the Republican presidential nomination, the U.S. armed forces have switched gears, making fewer generous contributions to the Texas congressman's campaign while contributing more to President Barack Obama.
The anti-war Paul has been a favorite among members of the U.S. military, something his campaign contribution records clearly demonstrate. Paul -- a veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and the Texas National Guard -- has taken in more than $333,000 among members of the military who donated more than $200 since Jan. 1, 2011, according to an analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics. In comparison, members of the armed forces have contributed $184,505 to Obama and only $45,738 toward presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's campaign.
However, there was a noticeable shift in those contributions in March. That month's Super Tuesday primary contest effectively sealed Romney's position as the presumed GOP nominee after he won six of the 10 states on the ballot, including delegate-rich Ohio.
While Paul has enjoyed considerable fundraising advantages over his 2012 presidential competitors with almost every branch of the military, in March those numbers began flipping in favor of Obama. While the president received less than half of the $100,233 Army members had contributed to the Paul campaign before March, last month those donations from military and civilian Army employees were the reverse: Obama received $10,568 from that military branch, compared to the $4,857 that was donated to the Paul campaign.
In March, the only branches that continued to contribute more to the 74-year-old congressman than to Obama were the National Guard (which did not donate funds to either Obama or Romney that month), the Marines and the Air Force. Members of the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps and those who identified their employer as simply the U.S. Military did not contribute any funds to the Romney campaign last month, according CRP's analysis.
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In total, Paul's campaign only brought in $17,733 from the armed forces last month -- still more than Romney ($8,630) but less than half of what was contributed to Obama's re-election effort ($36,448).
While both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have suspended their White House bids in the face of an almost undeniable Romney nomination (although the latter has not formally announced it), Paul -- possibly the only candidate that ever had a devoted base of supporters during the 2012 Republican primaries -- has shown no signs of backing down.
Paul, who has only won 79 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, has said he plans to stay in the race until all of the delegates have been counted.
After sweeping five primary states on Tuesday, Romney has garnered 844 delegates to the Republican National Convention, only 270 short of officially locking down the nomination.