Now that he is no longer campaigning actively for the Republican nomination, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is shifting his focus to influencing Republican policy at the convention in August in Tampa.
The Texas congressman's Monday email to supporters acknowledged what is beyond dispute at this point: Despite having won a sizable number of delegates, Paul lags too far behind frontrunner Mitt Romney to secure the party's nomination. The statement also underlined the prohibitive cost of mounting a national campaign, noting that continuing to compete with Romney would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.
But that does not mean Paul's long run -- he has outlasted every other Romney challenger -- will go for naught. A top Paul strategist sent a memo to supporters outlining how Paul will deploy the delegates he has already won, as well as those who he will accumulate as the primary finishes up, when the Republican Party convenes in Tampa, Fla., to anoint its candidate.
First, strategist Jesse Benton wrote, the Paul campaign would continue to run strong programs at district and state conventions in a push to grab more delegates despite having abandoned outright campaigning in the remaining primaries. The email to supporters on Monday made a similar point, emphasizing a grassroots mobilization in which Paul backers sought leadership positions at state conventions.
Paul's Potential Clout At Convention
That would give Paul a few hundred delegates when he arrives in Tampa in addition to those who although bound to Governor Romney or other candidates, will be Ron Paul supporters, Benton asserted. Paul supporters could use that clout to help shape the party's nominating rules or platform.
Delegates could vote to change party rules in a way that would be favorable to candidates, like Paul, who run on the Republican ticket but are still outsiders challenging party orthodoxy. They could also help shape the party platform -- a statement of governing principles formulated every four years -- to include issues Paul prizes.
Our campaign is presently working to get several items up for consideration, including monetary policy reform, prohibitions on indefinite detention and Internet freedom, Benton wrote, adding that a substantial Paul delegation would also be a testament to his staying power.
By sending a large, respectful and professional delegation to Tampa, we will show the party and the country that not only is our movement growing and here to stay, but that the future belongs to us, Benton wrote.
Although he did not capture the popular vote in any state primary, Paul still managed to win almost all of the delegates at stake in Nevada and Maine. His message may be resonating louder at time when a focus on limiting government, central to Paul's stalwart libertarianism, is animating the Tea Party movement.