Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ron Paul: A New Hampshire Dark Horse?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul might not be considered a first-tier Republican candidate, but there is growing evidence that he might become the next New Hampshire dark horse presidential candidate.

The Granite State is known for propelling dark-horse candidates on to the national stage. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, Howard Dean and John McCain have all used their primary successes to go from relative obscurity into a national political force.

This is providing inspiration for the Paul campaign because according to the campaign’s field director, Jared Chicoine “New Hampshire has helped long-shot candidates in the past; this is the right state to be a long-shot candidate.”

Using a combination of Internet social network websites and traditional grassroots activism, the once libertarian presidential candidate has been able to win straw polls conducted by the Strafford County GOP and The Coalition of NH Taxpayers. Paul supporters are also present at various Republican events and are active in local GOP circles.

In addition to building grassroots support, Paul is slowly moving up in polls and raising a respectable amount of money.

A recent American Research Group poll showed Paul at 3 percent, which is actually a two percent increase since June. In fact, Paul is beginning to pull away from Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo and catching-up to Sam Brownback and Newt Gingrich.

Paul made political headlines earlier this year when it was discovered that he had raised more first-quarter money, in New Hampshire, then John McCain or Rudy Giuliani. So far, Paul has raised $34,211 in the Granite State, surpassing the fundraising totals of Chris Dodd, Mike Huckabee, Bill Richardson, Duncan Hunter, Joe Biden, Tom Tancredo, Mike Gravel and Sam Brownback.

Congressman Ron Paul might not ever reach first-tier candidate status, but with a message that is appealing to libertarians, conservative Republicans and former Pat Buchanan supporters, Paul’s presence on the campaign trail could become either the story of 2008 or a footnote in history books.