Ron Paul 2012's delegate strategy keeps gaining steam, with the latest boost being a report that a prominent Iowa supporter of Mitt Romney is predicting that the underdog candidate will get 20 delegates in the Hawkeye State.
Romney was always slated to win the popular vote, if you believe the mainstream media line, but he didn't manage to build any enthusiasm for his campaign, or to ensure that delegates who went for his competitors would default to him come the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
And it appears that his air of inevitability is not going to be enough to allow him to easily swoop to a nomination without a fight against some of the most vociferous voters out there: those who support Ron Paul 2012.
The Paulites have been maligned, dismissed, made fun of, ignored and browbeaten for months -- years in fact, as they suffered from similar punishments during Ron Paul's failed 2008 campaign.
But Ron Paul did not throw his hat in the ring again this year in order to be maligned and relegated to the sidelines. Instead, he and his advisers took after the strategy of Warren G. Harding, who in 1920 went into the RNC with fewer delegates than any other candidate still on the ballot, and ended up winning the GOP nod, and eventually the presidency.
And new reports keep coming out indicating that Ron Paul 2012's strategy is paying larger dividends than many naysayers are giving the Texas Congressman credit for.
Case in point, a Thursday story released by the Huffington Post reports that a top Iowa Republican supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney says he expects a significant majority of his home 28 state's delegates to defect to Ron Paul. Asked by the HuffPo, the source was quick to say how many will likely go for Ron Paul in the August nominating convention in Tampa: Twenty.
The Huffpo goes on to confirm such a bleak view among the state's GOP establishment with a number of other Iowa Republican sources, who say the state's party leadership is concerned that Paul will clean up at the Iowa state convention in Des Moines the weekend of June 15.
Paul is costing the state a lot of credibility, Bob Haus, a GOP consultant who led Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential Iowa campaign operation, told the news outlet.
And another top Republican source in Iowa seemed to agree:
It does not sound encouraging. The Paul people are in a position to control the delegates, and the result would be chaotic for the Republican Party of Iowa and bring it to a screeching halt, rendering it completely irrelevant to our efforts here, the source told the HuffPo.
And Jesse Benton, Ron Paul's national campaign chairman told the Huffington Post that the campaign has similar prospects in seven other states.
Paul already has 20 of 24 delegates in Minnesota locked up, and is on track to notch major delegate hauls in Nevada, Washington, and Alaska. Even Romney's home state of Massachusetts is leaning Paul-ward, according to the Boston Globe.
One of the key factors at play that is allowing Ron Paul 2012 to continue to rack up delegates is the level of anyone-but-Romney sentiment that remains in the Republican party's more conservative corners. As the party has lurched rightward in recent years, libertarian and ultra-conservative groups have gone from the fringes to the mainstream, which only helps Paul's prospects.
As voters who went for Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and other former candidates begin to weigh the two remaining candidates, many of them are joining the Paul camp out of dissatisfaction with the policies of Romney.
And Fox News reported last month that Paul's presence on the ballot at the RNC looks inevitable at this point.
The media seems to be picking up on the trend, as the storyline has appeared in mainstream and alternative sources with increasing frequency and veracity in recent days. As the RNC draws closer, expect to continue to see Ron Paul in the news, and perhaps even a brokered convention to boot. It wouldn't be the first time.