With little more than two weeks to go until Iowa Republicans kick off the procession of states that will determine the GOP nominee to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is starting to raise some eyebrows with his campaign in the Hawkeye State.
National Journal unveiled a survey of top insiders from both major parties that found 30 percent of both the Democrats and Republicans surveyed expect Paul to win the Iowa caucus, which will be held on Jan. 3. Sixty percent of the prominent Republicans and 62 percent of their Democratic counterparts expect the winner to be former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is battling Paul and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts to lead the polls in Iowa.
Despite Gingrich and Paul being favored in Iowa, most of the insiders -- 76 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats -- expect Romney to win the nomination. Only 15 percent of Republican insiders and 23 percent of Democrats expect Gingrich to be the nominee, while only 1 percent from each party thought Paul will go on to win the nomination.
With polls showing that he is one of the top candidates in Iowa -- and certainly his strong second-place finish in the Iowa Republican straw poll in August shows that his organization is better this time around than when he took less than 10 percent in the state back in 2008 -- Paul continued this week to build his team there. While Paul has generally not garnered the support of many politicians, he did unveil a major endorsement in Iowa this week -- Hampton Mayor-Elect Shawn Dietz.
Dietz, who was active with the tea party movement and the Republican Party in Franklin County, sent out a letter to Iowa Republicans on Paul's behalf.
With our nations founding principles in jeopardy of extinction, elections at all levels of government are increasingly more imperative to the survival of our republic; none more visible and important than that of the office of president of the United States, Dietz wrote. Only one Republican presidential candidate has provided a detailed plan of how he proposes to make major federal government spending cuts, $1 trillion in his first year as president. Only one Republican presidential candidate has presented logical plans to address important issues to my family, my neighbors, and myself; such issues as national security, illegal immigration, life, monetary policy, foreign policy, debt, and ending overseas nation-building. ... Today, it is with great pride as a co-founder of the Franklin County Tea Party, as the vice chair of the Franklin County Republican Central Committee, and as the mayor-elect of the city of Hampton, Iowa, that I officially announce my endorsement of the champion of the Constitution, Texas Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, for president in 2012.
Were pleased that incoming Mayor Dietz has endorsed Ron Paul, and has done so with such conviction, said Drew Ivers, Pauls chairman in Iowa.Endorsements by Iowas political, faith and civic leaders are what promise to propel us to a strong top-three showing in the caucus.
Paul also unveiled other endorsements in Iowa this week as he continued to build his coalition groups from veterans and from small-business owners in the Hawkeye State.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.