Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul vowed to continue in the race, despite his last-place finish (with 13 percent of the votes) in the South Carolina primary. Paul spoke to his supporters in Columbia, S.C., and he said he would not drop out of the contest any time soon.

This is the beginning of a long, hard job, and the momentum we have will be continued, Paul told his supporters.

His reaction was along expected lines, as his campaign had announced they were focusing more on caucuses and primaries, where there were more delegates to pick up. The Paul campaign also concentrates on states with low cost of campaigning, as this is supposed to use available resources efficiently. Moreover this strategy will help them get more delegates, enabling Paul and his supporters to have a say in the Republican nomination in the summer. Paul, in an interview with CNN, confirmed this strategy.

Our goal is to get delegates. And we're going to be doing the states where they allocate by percentages as well as caucus states. So that's been our plan all along, he said.

Paul's campaign office announced in a statement that Paul had done well in the Palmetto state, despite his focus in other states.

The campaign team is in for the long haul and now will move to states like Maine, Minnesota and Nevada, which have caucuses, the statement read.

The strength of Paul's candidacy lies in its sound and systematic campaign structure. Paul can claim the Republican nomination if he wins a minimum of 1,144 out of a total of 2,286 delegates. Furthermore, even if he doesn't win the required number but manages to gather a decisive advantage, then he will be in a position to decide who gets nominated. In that case, it could provide Paul and his team an opportunity to bring his ideology to the forefront of a national debate. 

However, as of now, the Republican presidential race is wide open. With polls in three states over and three different candidates winning, the battle is going to be a marathon. The very unpredictable nature of this year's contest gives every candidate a shot of winning.

Nevertheless, the present poll scenario benefits Ron Paul more than any other candidate because a tough fight between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will result in them going after each other. In such a scenario, Paul should be able to stay safely on the fringes. Also, since both his rivals and the media consider the former doctor a non-challenger, he could get sufficient time and resources to go ahead and win delegates at a steady pace.