Meet the Candidates: Ron Paul
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Ron Paul was relaxed Thursday night at the Grand Sierra Resort, where he held a rally two days before the Nevada Republican caucuses. He spoke to a crowd of nearly 1,000 people many who were in their 20s.
But the Texas Congressman has yet to finish first in any state primary or caucus so far.
Many political experts say his beliefs are very libertarian, like small government, pro-gun rights, and repealing the Patrion Act.
"He's raising the issue of the U.S. and its role internationally and has called into question a lot of our foreign policy activity and involvment," said Political Scientist Fred Lokken, who teaches at Truckee Meadow Community College.
Nevada has a libertarian streak, political experts say, which makes Paul's ideas more popular in the Silver State than others across the country. He came in second in the 2008 Nevada caucuses to Mitt Romney.
"I'm looking for him to maybe poll in the 20-25% range," Herzik said.
Paul participated in the Florida primary, receiving just seven percent of the vote, but he lacked the money needed to campaign in the state.
Instead, his campaign shifted its focus to Nevada, where the campaign has a heavy grassroots campaign.
"He really shines in the caucuses because they can organize at the grassroots level and turn their people out," said David Buell, the Washoe County GOP chairman.
The Paul campaign is depending on caucus states in this election because candidates are awarded elegates based on the percentage of votes their receive, rather than in a primary where the winner receives all the delegates.
"Caucus states depend on on the ground organization and dedicated followers," UNR's Erik Herzik said. "There's one thing Ron Paul has is dedicated followers. They show up, and get people to come."
Caucuses also help candidates who do not have a lot of money.
"When you have a state like Nevada where it's proportional binding, you're using your campaign resources more wisely in a state like that, than opposed to a winner take all," said Wayne Terhune, the Washoe County Chair for the Ron Paul campaign.
So far, the Paul only has four delgates and he has a difficult road ahead to possibly win the Republican nomination. Herzik at the University of Nevada, Reno says he thinks Paul is still in the race to influence the Republican platform.
"Paul is what political scientists call a 'messenger candidate'" Herzik said. "He got 7 percent of the vote in Florida, but on national television, radio, you got 15 minutes of Ron Paul talking about his ideas and his values going forward."
Wayne Terhune with the campaign denied that claim.
"People are entitled to their opinion, but they're dead wrong," he said. "We're in it to win it."