Posted: January 2, 2008 4:57 PM
Paul Reports Nearly $20 Million Raised in Fourth Quarter
While Texas Rep. Ron Paul still lingers in the back of primary and national polls for the Republican nomination, Paul has proven that he has the grassroots support to haul in millions in campaign donations in the past quarter.
The campaign, according to spokesman Jesse Benton, is conservatively estimating its fourth-quarter haul at $19.5 million, well ahead of their earlier $12 million goal.
Thanks to massive fundraising days organized by independent supporters on Nov. 5 and Dec. 16, Paul is brimming with new resources, while other Republicans in the race may be seeing a slowdown in fundraising, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Benton said that the influx of cash will allow the campaign to support its plan to run a 50-state grassroots campaign. The campaign isn’t forgetting Iowa and New Hampshire, though, and Benton reports that the Paul camp has hired field coordinators for all 99 counties in Iowa in addition to other staff.
Part of the preparations for the Iowa caucus is Christmas in Iowa, which brought 300 students from across the country to canvass for Paul across the state, an effort that Benton called a major part of their ground game.
Benton declined to make any predictions about the Iowa vote, but he made it clear that he doesn’t think Paul has to beat everyone in Iowa to do well.
“The great thing about our campaign is that we need to do well, but this is an opportunity to build momentum. We don’t have to finish in a certain slot,” he said. The caucus could show election-watchers that the Paul campaign can turn out votes, and its grassroots network can help the campaign succeed in other contests.
In a poll average calculated by RealClearPolitics, Paul currently places fifth with 7.5 percent, ahead of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The Paul campaign has hit a snag over a Jan. 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. Fox has not invited Paul or Rep. Duncan Hunter, D-Calif., citing their low poll numbers and limited space as the reason for their exclusion.
The campaign is considering holding a concurrent event if excluded, Benton said, but will wait until the Iowa results come in before making that decision.
On caucus day in Iowa, Paul will attend some events on the ground and then a campaign party at the Des Moines Marriott.
And on the Internet, Paul’s supporters continue to be inventive, this time organizing a rally in the popular fantasy online role-playing game “World of Warcraft.”
A blogger from GamePolitics.com signed into World of Warcraft to cover the event and estimated that more than 200 players showed up to take part in a virtual march through the game’s landscape.
GamePolitics.com reports that the political demonstration slowed the server and irked some players who did not appreciate politics being brought into the game.
“Some anti-Ron Paul griefers spammed rude messages. A character /spit on a paladin marcher named Ronpaulidan. Someone else threw a snowball at the marchers,” the blogger wrote.