Ben Johnson


Ron Paul is out of the race? Not exactly

Ben Johnson

LAKE JACKSON, TEXAS, May 14, 2012, ( – Ron Paul is out of the Republican presidential race – or is he?

On Monday, the Texas congressman issued a press release saying he “will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted.” Competing against Mitt Romney in the 11 states yet to hold their presidential primaries – including Texas and California – “would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have,” he said.

Some media sources, including the headline of Drudge Report, have reported this means he has suspended his presidential efforts. However, the reality is more intriguing and complicated.

Paul also vowed to “continue to work in the state convention process,” and the press release tells activists to watch for “forthcoming information the campaign will release concerning its fruitful delegate-attainment strategy.”

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Paul’s statement highlights a little-known political reality: presidential primaries do not necessarily determine who wins a state’s delegates at the political party’s nominating convention. Instead, the state political parties engage in a prolonged process, in which delegates are selected by votes in the state party. Ron Paul’s delegates have been the most likely to show up to these parliamentary procedures and elect delegates loyal to Paul.

This strategy has resulted in him winning the majority of delegates in states where he lost the primary or caucus, such as Nevada and Maine.

As of this writing, Mitt Romney has 313 actual pledged delegates, while Rick Santorum has 144, and Ron Paul has 125.

While it is unlikely Paul, or any other candidate, will emerge with enough delegates to deny Mitt Romney the presidential nomination, the presence of a large bloc of non-Romney votes could complicate the nomination – or force the entire process in a more conservative direction.

If rival campaigns control enough delegates, “Romney would have to give [them] something,” Carl Bunce, the head of Paul’s Nevada campaign, told This could include anything from a prime time speech, to concessions on the Republican Party platform, to substantive policy or personnel decisions. Stewart Lawrence at The Huffington Post speculates Romney may name Rand Paul as his vice president.

“We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future,” the elder Paul said.

“Either way, read through the article and you will see that the inference that Paul is out of the race is absolutely not true,” writes Paul supporter Ben Swann. “The State Conventions is where the nomination will be won or lost not traveling from state to state for beauty contests. ”

The Republican National Convention will be held in August in Tampa, Florida.