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Ron Paul Keeps On Truckin', But to What End?

By Scott Conroy - March 22, 2012

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Paul’s aides have begun to discuss the possibility that Romney could consider the libertarian-leaning congressman to be his running mate -- a scenario that seems as remote as Paul’s chances of winning the nomination outright but one his campaign argues would make sense if Romney needs more delegates to secure the nomination.

“If it is Romney, and we were to cut a deal with him, Romney’s going to think about ‘How do I really excite people? How do I win the independents that cost Republicans the nomination in ’08?’ ” said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton.

Regardless of the prospects for such a scenario, the Paul campaign says that it will press on until someone crosses the 1,144-delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot, barring an unforeseen personal issue or a lack of financial resources.

But money is an increasing concern. The campaign raised $3.3 million in February -- a substantial sum but almost $1 million below its January haul.

Meanwhile, the super PAC supporting Paul, Endorse Liberty, took in $282,466 in February, just a fraction of the $2.3 million it raised the previous month. Endorse Liberty had slightly over $200,000 cash on hand heading into March.

Benton said the campaign is satisfied with its numbers and that they are on pace for an eight-figure first quarter of the year.

“That super PAC never did much for us anyway, and we’re not real concerned about that,” Benton said. “We need to keep the pedal to the metal on fundraising. The good thing is we open ourselves to new donors as we move to new states, and only about 13 percent of our donors have maxed out.”

Though maintaining a schedule that would exhaust many men half his age, Paul has been careful not to overexert himself and has consistently taken days off from the trail over the last few months.

The candidate is, by all accounts, still having fun, and has often appeared more relaxed and lighthearted on the stump as his prospects of actual victory have grown even dimmer.

Paul spent Tuesday morning raising money in California but took time out for his second appearance of the campaign on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

While the campaign has thus far focused on the caucus states, without much success to show for it, Paul strategists are now looking ahead to the two largest delegate hauls: the Texas and California primaries, slated for late May and early June.

Paul is aiming to reach the 20 percent threshold required to earn delegates in Texas and will target friendly congressional districts in California in the hopes of picking up some of the Golden State’s 172 delegates to the national convention.

And if that doesn’t work?

Tampa will be right around the corner, and if there is no presumptive GOP nominee, Paul would likely have no motivation to exit the race at that stage. 

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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