The Ron Paul “delegate strategy” seems to be working. And he could very well be nominated at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late summer.
The Texas libertarian has based his entire 2012 presidential campaign on the ability to win over state delegates — rather than winning the popular vote. To do this, Paul has utilized an extensive grassroots campaign network to influence local officials, who in turn would influence the higher-up officials. Until recently, this strategy had shown only limited results: the ground-level Paul delegates had not been able to immediately influence the wider state delegate situation. Now, though, caucus states like Washington, Minnesota, and Iowa — each with a complicated system of “bound” and “unbound” delegates — are nominating their delegates to the GOP national convention in Tampa. And the Paul ground game is starting to work, but with some institutional backlash.
Here’s a micro-level example: In Washington over the weekend, Republicans in the 37th Legislative District gathered to vote on their delegates. The meeting saw Ron Paul supporters elect one of their own to chair the process. A Republican Party chairman, though, refused to accept the Paul-supporting chairperson, and ended the meeting, declaring that the meeting was no longer a Republican Party event, but rather a Ron Paul campaign event.
The caucus finished its business outside in the sun, and elected 11 Ron Paul supporters to the state convention, which begins May 31 in Tacoma.
Boom, Ron Paul’s system looks like it is working.
Paul loyalists, of course, still harbor hope for getting their man nominated at the national convention in Tampa in late August. In order to do that, Paul must have a majority of support from at least five state delegations. With states like North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine, and others on track, his supporters could then attempt to nominate him from the floor.
And it’s looking like he’ll get the states he needs to be eligible for a nomination (though, by no means would he be able to beat Mitt Romney's delegate haul). Even being eligible would be a massive #win for Paul, though, especially as he shops his libertarian ideology and seeks to influence conservative politics on a more philosophical level.
Earlier this week in Iowa and Minnesota, Ron Paul’s covert, submarine delegate strategy paid off. Iowa has 28 total delegates that it can award, and one of those delegates is the state chairman, a Ron Paul supporter. Paul also picked up 13 delegates from the state’s nomination committee, which decided yesterday to go for Ron Paul. Weeks after the Iowa race was called for Rick Santorum, Paul’s grinding delegate game has paid off, and at the very worst, he will earn half of Iowa’s delegates.
He pulled off the same thing in Minnesota. The state has 40 delegates and Ron Paul has secured at least 20 of them, confirming Paul’s prediction at the time that “when the dust settles, there is a very good chance that we’ll have the maximum number of delegates coming out of Minnesota.”
Ron Paul is very much on track to change the course of this GOP presidential race.