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Maverick Republican-cum-Libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul Monday suspended his “campaigning” for President while insisting his “campaign” will go on.
Paul said he doesn’t have the “many tens of millions of dollars” needed to actively campaign in the 11 remaining primary contests.
In a message to his supporters, Paul said:
Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.
Instead, Paul said he will continue to focus on state conventions:
Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. 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.
While that strategy might gain Paul a few more delegates to add to his current total of 104 it will not bring him close to the GOP nomination that presumptive nominee Mitt Romney is expected to capture by early June. Romney has 973 of the 1,114 delegates he needs to capture the nomination.
An examination of Paul’s Federal Election Commison (FEC) reports by Capitol Hill Blue shows he did raise tens of millions of dollars — $36 million – through the end of March and spent $34.97 million, leaving $1.78 million cash on hand. That averages out to $346,153 for each of Paul’s 104 delegates to date.
By comparison, Romney raised $86.2 million for the same period and spent $76.180 million, leaving the former Massachusetts governor with about $10 million in cash. Romney’s expenditures average out to $78,108 per delegate.
Which means Paul, the fiscal conservative who claims the government wastes money, spent nearly five times more than Romney for each delegate captured.
By moving from active campaigning to an inside strategy, Paul appears to be admitting that he does not have the broad voter appeal to become the GOP nominee, much less President.
As David A. Fahrenthold notes in The Washington Post:
This announcement does not change the plot of the GOP race: Mitt Romney is the presumed nominee. Paul isn’t, and wasn’t, and won’t be.
But Paul’s decision does reveal something about him, and his struggles to reach a broader electorate.
In this race, Paul has cast himself as a maverick outsider — more in touch with the average voter than with party bosses. But he has actually run behind other candidates in mass votes: out of 39 state primaries and caucuses, Paul won zero.
Instead, this outsider actually excels most in the party’s inside game: using his enthusiastic fan base to master the GOP’s boring internal processes.
Paul’s always enthusiastic supporters, of course, see things differently, claiming their candidate has actually won more than one primary but was denied victory by either voter fraud or gamesmanship by the Republican establishment.
Paul’s decision to exit the “active campaigning” stage, however, confirms the political reality that this – his third unsuccessful campaign for President – was doomed from the start.