Expert Says Ron Paul Not Seeking Nomination, But GOP Platform Influence

Ron Paul has already moved his campaign to the next round of states holding caucuses. The Lake Jackson congressman essentially skipped Florida, which holds its presidential primary tomorrow. One local political expert says Paul's strategy is not to 'win' the nomination, but to earn enough delegates to shape the GOP platform.

Whoever wins Florida's primary gets all the state's delegates. Representative Paul is not expected to win. So, instead, he's focusing on upcoming caucuses in Nevada, Colorado, and Minnesota. Those states award delegates in proportion to the number of votes the candidates receive. 

Mark Jones is chair of the political science department at Rice University. He says Paul isn't in the race to become the GOP nominee, but to influence a larger audience with his ideas and positions.

"Both in the debates, the national media coverage — with the goal being doing it at  the national convention by winning enough delegates that he's able to have a prime-time speaking role, as well as some influence on what the party's platform is going to be."

Jones says Representative Paul would like the GOP platform to include a rigorous audit of the Federal Reserve, and a return to the gold standard. Jones believes Paul could remain a formal candidate even as late as June. That's when California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and some smaller states hold their primaries.

"When, eventually, people like Rick Santorum, and perhaps, Newt Gingrich, drop out, Ron Paul could be the only option.  So, he'll receive a larger share of the vote by protest.  And, also, fewer people will turn out, and, therefore, his base, which is relatively strong and loyal, will represent a larger share of voters."

Jones says between that loyal base, a lean campaign operation, and the campaign's ability to raise a lot of cash in short amounts of time, Paul should have no trouble staying in the race another four months.

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