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Ron Paul Moving Closer to GOP Nomination

Forget Mitt "The Stormin' Mormon" Romney and Michelle "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann. If Ron Paul pulls off a win in Saturday's Ames, Iowa Straw Poll, all bets are off.

Current Iowa polling suggests Ron Paul just might pull off a surprise win, first at the Straw Poll and then second in the Iowa caucuses. As of today, Ron Paul polls in third place in Iowa, with 16 percent of the vote. He only trails Bachmann (22%) and Romney (21%), and trounces all the other declared candidates.

Bachmann and Romney's lead comes on the strength of their media recognition as the "front-runners". If Paul can do anything to dent that perception that they are the front-runners, some of their support could easily slip into his camp. With only a small change in support, Paul could easily find himself leading the Iowa pack.

How can Paul move the needle on that front-runner status? By killing it in the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday. Early indications are that he just might do that. Momentum is clearly on Paul's side. His polling in Iowa has gone from single digits to the 16 percent reported above — no easy feat, considering the sheer number of candidates in the race.

Paul, who has jumped into third-place nationally as well, is benefiting from a few different political realities. First, the issues being debated this summer (the economy, the $14 trillion debt, the debt ceiling) are all issues that Ron Paul is strong on. He has support from a significant portion of the economic right, and not just from his more Libertarian core voters. Second, people are disgusted with government's inability to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. Paul represents a philosophy that will not have problems with those standards.

It is no surprise that, Paul's rise corresponds with America watching Democrats and Republicans team up to avoid cutting spending, raising taxes, or in any way fixing the budget — while also raising the debt ceiling. Americans are, by all accounts, fed up. They're tired of Washington spending trillions on nothing. They're tired of what they see as high taxes and an intrusion on personal liberty. They're tired of watching the Federal Reserve get away with printing trillions in worthless money, all loaned to the government with interest.

In some sense, Paul is not the standard Iowa candidate. Typically, more liberty-focused, economics-oriented candidates turn toward New Hampshire, while more socially conservative candidates focus on Iowa. While Paul is also socially conservative, his overriding political stances are based on liberty and freedom for everyone. Whatever the outcome, Paul's Iowa rise will be a case study for political science students for a generation.

Paul's rise will take its first test Thursday night in Ames, Iowa's straw poll debate. The event is scheduled for Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. Candidate performance will be amplified from previous years, as the debate will be televised nationally on Fox News.

Matt Strawn, the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, sees the weekend straw poll as a key event in the pursuit of the Republican nomination.

“It's proven a very vital piece to the presidential nomination chase here in Iowa, partly because these campaigns need to identify who their key organizers are across the state leading up the February caucuses,” Strawn said. “If somebody is going to get in a car, get on a bus on a summer Saturday and come to Ames to support you, that's somebody you can count on in February (during the caucuses). So it's a very important test for these campaigns.”

For Paul, it is a test he is (so far) passing with flying colors. Can he keep it up to through the nomination? Time will tell. For now, tune in to Fox News Thursday night to catch the debate and your chance to see liberty make history.

Ron Paul's path to the nomination

  • Do well in Thursday's debate
  • Win the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday
  • Move to first or second in the Iowa Caucus polling
  • By February, emerge from Iowa in the top two (at the least, third place)
  • Finish in the top two in New Hampshire (Must finish ahead of Bachmann)
  • From there, it'd be a race he can win!

What do you think about Ron Paul's candidacy? Leave a comment here or toss me an email/tweet. My email is john@benzinga.com and I am on twitter: @johndthorpe.

Posted-In: 2012 Election GOP Ron PaulNews Movers & Shakers Politics General Best of Benzinga

 

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