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What's Next for Ron Paul (and His Money)?

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) officially suspended his presidential campaign Thursday night, having never won a GOP primary or caucus but nonetheless stirring up an impressive cadre of passionate supporters eager to follow his Libertarian-style lead. In the process, Paul proved himself to be a surprisingly strong fundraiser, bringing in $35 million through April 30.

As of that date, Paul still had $4.7 million left in the bank. We'll know next week how much was left on May 31. So while Paul's army waits for word of where the "revolution" will lead them next, Republicans around town might be more interested to know just what he intends to do with all that cash.

"It is time now to take the energy this campaign has awakened and channel it into long-term efforts to take back our country," Paul wrote in a "Thank You" message posted on his campaign site. "We have some exciting plans and projects to move the revolution forward that will come together in the next several months. Watch for them."

According to the Associated Press, Paul said he didn't plan to endorse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president, and that, "The campaign is going to shift gears. It's going to accelerate. It's going to get much bigger."

Paul still plans to hold an alternative convention at the University of Minnesota's arena while the official Republican National Convention is gathered in St. Paul, and his supporters still intend to hold a "Revolution March" in Washington on July 12. More importantly, Paul plans to support Libertarian-leaning candidates -- apparently within the Republican Party -- for various offices. (At this very moment, his backers are trying to oust the chairwoman of the Texas GOP at the state party convention.) Does that mean he will back primary challenges to sitting GOP lawmakers, a la Club for Growth? That's not clear yet.

What is clear is that Paul has demonstrated the ability to mobilize large number of volunteers and supporters quickly, and that he can back up his preferred candidates with financial support. The vast majority of his contributors are small-dollar donors, the kind campaigns salivate over because they can be asked to contribute again and again.

Through March 31, Paul's congressional re-election committee had given $26,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and has contributed to GOP Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) -- a vocal opponent of the Iraq war -- Paul Broun (Ga.), and Doug Lamborn (Colo.), as well as a House candidate in New Hampshire and a Senate candidate in Connecticut. His total contributions of $38,500 are significantly higher than what he's given out in the previous couple of election cycles.

The NRCC, of course, wouldn't mind getting its hands on more of that money. And GOP leaders would be happy to suggest plenty of vulnerable incumbents and key challengers they'd like to see Paul support. But nothing in Paul's history suggests that he will start simply doling out cash to whichever Republicans happen to need it most. More likely he will pick and choose his spots, looking for ideological bedfellows. His fellow House GOPers might want to try to stay on his good side, lest they end up on the wrong end of the revolution in their next primary campaigns.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 13, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Next: Player of the Week: Dennis Kucinich

Comments

That $4.7 million will buy an awful lot of sheets and crosses.

Posted by: info | June 13, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Ron who? Wasn't he from the same state as that Perot dude? It must be all that cattle fertilizer and oil sludge dripping into the aquifers down there.

Posted by: Dave in DC | June 13, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

We already know his plans for that money. He has started a new campaign called the campaign for liberty, which can be found at the new website, campaignforliberty.org . He announced this during his speech in Texas, which the media did not cover, but we did not expect them too. Ironic though, had the media covered it you would already know what is next for Dr. Paul and the money. And it is not about people staying on Dr. Paul's good side it is about them staying on the side of liberty and the constitution. You see, his message has reached a lot of people as is evident by his fundraising and the amount of people who voted for him in states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota. His following is getting stronger and while it may not be enough to get him elected to the presidency (again had the media given him adequate coverage, any sane person would have been able to hear his message and know he is better than the options we have now) the support in the states is strong enough to get our currents reps out and to get more liberty minded reps in. The turn out for local and state elections is often small and the members of the revolution will certainly show up to support their candidate (as is evident with Dr. Paul) the question is, will others turn out in the same great numbers? While political apathy has been choking most of Americans, the grassroots members of Dr. Paul's campaign are not apathetic, we will work hard to get the reps we want elected. Dr. Paul has made some unprecedented numbers, analysts will agree, imagine what that will reflect in the states. Long live liberty, America, and the Constitution. Long live the revolution.

Posted by: Anthony | June 14, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Just another has been who thinks he can become president because he has a degree from college. I had rather have an individual with an education from hard knocks that some idiot with a PHD. I cannot believe people are so dumb to vote for a socialist like Ron Paul.He will give the rest of the money to charity, but you will never hear the name of the charity he gives it to.

Posted by: elmerck | June 16, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

elmerick: Check your facts. Dr. Paul is a medical doctor, and does not have a Ph.D. He has been a Congressman for over 35 years, probably more than you have been alive. That counts as a pretty good education to me.

Posted by: Diane | June 16, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"I cannot believe people are so dumb to vote for a socialist like Ron Paul" - elmerck
You are an idiot, Ron Paul is the antithesis of a what it means to be a socialist. You fools don't even know what you are hating...
McCain will be a crappy president just like Bush..

Posted by: Jimmy | June 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Ben Pershing: You are a fool because you have all your facts wrong. If the Rupert Murdochs did not ban Ron, you too would know who and what he is all about. He has won 70% of the primaries and caucuses. Ron IS America, he believes in the Constitution and has millions of followers.

You fool, get yourself educated because you are no columnists.
and oh yeah, he is not out of the race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Roinct | June 16, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the GOP smells money and expects the voters it slapped around and abused to come and give it to them now that it has 'cinched' the nomination. Bah. The best thing that can happen to this country is that the two parties crumble and it looks like it is happening. http://mschaut.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/mccain-courting-independents-you-gave-us-less-than-nothing/

The third parties are rising. McCain is a diletante loser, who admits he knows NOTHING about economics and who doesn't even know the difference between Shiite and Sunni; and Obama knows NOTHING about how to solve any of the problems afflicting our citizens.

The parties have failed America AGAIN. We need a groundswell against them and it looks like we'll get it over the next few years.

Posted by: Margaret | June 16, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't know very much about Ron Paul as I have limited access to info about him and his policies. Ihe media dosen't contain hardly any news about him. I think I read some info from the Organic Consumers Association. I will never even consider voting for John McCain. If the American population is ignorant enough to some how vote him into office. There will be no hope for at least 4 more years. I am interested in info about Ron Paul. Sherrie Malik

Posted by: sherrie malik | June 16, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: 94yn459t8u | June 19, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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