Posted: August 16, 2007 5:41 PM
King of the Virtual World Campaigns the Old Fashioned Way in N.H.
After his fifth-place finish in the Iowa Republican straw poll, Ron Paul plans to head to New Hampshire Friday for five days of barbecues and general store meet-and-greets in the important primary state.
Jesse Benton, Paul’s communications director, played down the straw poll finish in an interview with The Hill Monday saying that Paul only spent a week in Iowa introducing himself to voters. He told the newspaper Paul was “pretty pleased” with his finish behind GOP candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
While the straw poll was a chance for libertarian-leaning Paul to try to translate his Internet support into an analog victory, Benton told the Online NewsHour that Paul will head to New Hampshire to work on some traditional campaigning.
“We’ve got a really great online presence and a solid nationwide group of supporters. We are transferring that into political bricklaying,” Benton said. Paul’s New Hampshire tour starts with a Saturday stop to the Londonderry Old Home Days Parade.
Benton said the campaign has 33,000 meet-up members across the country who have organized thousands of events and helped spread Paul’s constitutionalist and anti-Iraq war message online and in person. He said the national campaign is not involved in communicating directly with Paul’s online supporters, who have flooded non-scientific polls and message boards in support of the candidate.
The campaign also has more cash on hand than it did in the second quarter, Benton reported. Although he did not have an exact figure, Benton said the campaign has between $2.4 million and 3 million in the bank, some of which will go toward television spots in New Hampshire.
Paul is preparing for a Sept. 1 Texas straw poll, the Sept. 5 Fox News Republican debate at the University of New Hampshire and the Sept. 27 PBS Republican forum hosted by Tavis Smiley at Morgan State University in Baltimore, according to his campaign.
This week, Paul spent time with his wife, Carol, who is recuperating after a hospital visit for an irregular heartbeat Saturday and surgery to install a pacemaker, the Houston Chronicle reported. Benton reported that she is doing well.