Ron Paul’s not going to take New Hampshire on Tuesday, but a straw poll of voters in Idaho shows him at least winning that state hands down. Of the 399 votes cast state wide, Paul got 173 votes and Mitt Romney was in second at 135 votes. If he can fend off Romney until March, Paul just might walk away with more delegates in Idaho than he would have if he won New Hampshire.
As it is, Romney has a sizable 20-point lead in New Hampshire. Still, there’s potential for Paul. None of the top Republican candidates have the kind of loyal following that Ron Paul has. Paul has fans. What he needs is voters. And many more of them. He recently packed a town hall style meeting at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Two overflow rooms were required. Paul is also the only candidate to break 20% in national polls, and this “Live Free or Die” state – where independents also vote in Tuesday’s primary – bodes well for the most Libertarian Republican in the bunch.
Paul is a radical Republican, but not in the Newt Gingrich sense. He’s radical insofar as he is not a fan of Wall Street, which appeals to some in the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and is the only Republican congressman to oppose the war in Iraq before it even started in 2003.
CBS reported recently that Paul’s campaign is the best prepared for a long nomination contest, with solid funding and a national organization that can get him on the ballot in states where other candidates can’t, like Rick Perry and — perhaps sooner than later — Gingrich.
Here in New Hampshire, Paul has the support of around 30 New Hampshire state legislators to Romney’s 15, and he’s campaigned in New Hampshire just about as much as he has in Iowa. His press people are working overtime promoting him. No other figure within the GOP candidates debating Saturday night at St. Anselm College in Manchester has the kind of energetic following that Paul enjoys. (See OOPS! The Boston Globe Just Helped Ron Paul Win New Hampshire!)
Idaho, however, won’t be enough. And by the time the state votes for their choice of candidate to take on President Obama in November, Romney would likely have runaway with the nomination.
The Idaho straw poll was held at the Riverside Hotel, located in Boise. The Idaho Republican State Central Committee recently moved its voting contest to March 6th—Super Tuesday—and will nominate candidates using a county by county caucus system. Idaho has 32 delegates at the 2012 Republican National Convention, more than Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.
“Ron Paul has a tremendous support base in the oft-overlooked but important state of Idaho. This straw poll win is a positive early indicator that as we focus even more on Pacific Northwest contests, Idaho will stand out as one of the states where Ron Paul has a competitive edge over his establishment competitors,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.