While he has been on the Texas political stage for more than three decades, Ron Paul has not fared well there when he has made his two previous presidential bids -- but he hopes the third time will be the charm as he ramps up operations in the Lone Star State this week.
Now making his third try for the White House -- and second attempt at the Republican presidential nomination -- Paul has turned his eyes to Texas, which will bring 155 delegates to the GOP convention in Tampa come August. Texas holds its primary May 29.
While he has not carried a single state primary or caucus and his only victory has been in the Virgin Islands caucus in his 2012 bid, Paul has been picking up delegates as other candidates head toward the sidelines and has been drawing large crowds at town hall events on college and university campuses across the country.
Paul looks to continue generating large campus crowds this week when he hits three universities in Texas after five states in the Northeast hold primaries on Tuesday. Paul will be at the University of Texas at El Paso on Wednesday, the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday (ironically, considering their differences on the size of government and international policy, Paul will be speaking on the lawn of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library) and the University of Houston on Friday.
Paul has to do better in Texas than he did in 2008 when he floundered in the primary taking less than 5 percent -- far behind John McCain and Mike Huckabee -- and he could benefit if he is the sole surviving challenger to Mitt Romney, the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination. With buzz increasing that Newt Gingrich could drop out of the race soon, Paul could have a one-on-one match-up with Romney in Texas.
Earlier in the month, the Paul team laid down the groundwork for their efforts in the Lone Star State. The congressman held rallies in College Station, Fort Worth and San Antonio earlier in the campaign cycle and his staff notes that all of those events brought in large crowds with more than 3,000 supporters attending each.
The Paul campaign is also hitting the airwaves and the Internet with an ad stressing their candidates roots in the Lone Star State.
With Gingrich attempting to claim the mantle of the last conservative standing in the race, the Paul camp took some exception at that and stressed their candidates credentials.
Ron Paul is the only Texan, the only veteran, and the only real conservative competing in Texas, said Jesse Benton, Pauls national chairman, on Tuesday.We expect Dr. Pauls fellow Texans to be receptive to his platform of constitutionally limited government, the restoration of our economic and civil liberties, and a reversal of Washington spending and intrusion into the economy.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.